di·​seuse dē-ˈzüz How to pronounce diseuse (audio) -ˈzœz How to pronounce diseuse (audio)
plural diseuses dē-ˈzüz How to pronounce diseuse (audio) -ˈzœz How to pronounce diseuse (audio)
: a woman who is a skilled and usually professional reciter

Did you know?

The American actress Ruth Draper (1884-1956) was known for her character-driven monologues and theatrical sketches, portraying some 58 different characters utilizing a range of languages and dialects. A comparable entertainer today might be labeled a performance artist, but a term that emerged during Draper's lifetime was "diseuse." Broadly, a diseuse is a professional female reciter, though often the word is used specifically to refer to one who recites verse or other text to music. (A male reciter would be a diseur, but that word is rare in English.) Both "diseuse" and "diseur" derive from Old French dire ("to say") and ultimately from the Latin verb dicere.

Word History


French, feminine of diseur, from Old French, from dire to say, from Latin dicere — more at diction

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of diseuse was in 1896


Dictionary Entries Near diseuse

Cite this Entry

“Diseuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diseuse. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

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