demimonde

noun
demi·​monde | \ˈde-mi-ˌmänd, -mē-\

Definition of demimonde 

1a : a class of women on the fringes of respectable society supported by wealthy lovers also : their world

b : the world of prostitution

2 : a distinct circle or world that is often an isolated part of a larger world a night in the disco demimonde especially : one having low reputation or prestige

Examples of demimonde in a Sentence

a documentary examining the demimonde to which homosexuals were relegated before the start of the gay rights movement

Recent Examples on the Web

In between Shanghai was a sprawling, hyperenergetic demimonde of opium dens, gambling casinos, and illicit dance halls. Monitor Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "10 best books of July: the Monitor's picks," 12 July 2018 Vincent’s bar is home base for a vast demimonde ensemble: mobsters, cops, pimps, pornographers, construction workers, streetwalkers and the post-Stonewall gay community. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: HBO’s ‘The Deuce’ Works a Vibrant Hustle in the Naked City," 7 Sep. 2017 But nobody in particular can be identified except some members of the scroungy New Orleans-Dallas-Galveston demimonde. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "You can thank Oliver Stone’s sensationalized 1991 movie for the JFK document release," 21 Oct. 2017 In both cases, that means a larger brass section and a chance to really hear the sometimes tense dialogue between strings reflecting soaring romantic aspirations and the brassy, Runyonesque undertow of Nathan’s demimonde. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In 'Guys and Dolls,' Milwaukee Rep evokes a bygone time and timeless love," 24 Sep. 2017 These people now have to exist in a demimonde of informal work, welfare, and other handouts such as SSDI, without the dignity and security of work. Pascal-emmanuel Gobry, National Review, "America’s New Normal Is France’s Old Normal," 14 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'demimonde.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of demimonde

1855, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for demimonde

French demi-monde, from demi- + monde world, from Latin mundus

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The first known use of demimonde was in 1855

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