grande dame

noun (1)
\ ˈgrän-ˈdäm How to pronounce grande dame (audio) \
plural grandes dames\ ˈgrän-​ˈdäm(z) How to pronounce grandes dames (audio) \ also grande dames\ ˈgrän-​ˈdäm(z) How to pronounce grande dames (audio) \

Definition of grande dame

 (Entry 1 of 17)

1 : a usually elderly woman of great prestige or ability

en grande tenue

French phrase
en grande te·​nue | \ äⁿ-graⁿd-tə-nᵫ How to pronounce en grande tenue (audio) \

Definition of en grande tenue (Entry 2 of 17)

: in full dress

grande école

French noun phrase
\ gräⁿ-dā-kȯl How to pronounce grande école (audio) \

Definition of grande école (Entry 3 of 17)

: great school : an elite French institution of higher education for professional or technological training

Campo Grande

geographical name (1)
Cam·​po Gran·​de | \ ˌkäm-(ˌ)pü-ˈgrän-dē How to pronounce Campo Grande (audio) \

Definition of Campo Grande (Entry 4 of 17)

city in southwestern Brazil; capital of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul population 786,797

Casa Grande

geographical name (2)
Casa Gran·​de | \ ˌka-sə-ˈgran-dē How to pronounce Casa Grande (audio) \

Definition of Casa Grande (Entry 5 of 17)

city in south central Arizona population 48,571

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

geographical name (3)

Definition of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (Entry 6 of 17)

reservation in southern Arizona southeast of Phoenix; site of prehistoric ruins

Grande, Rio

geographical name (4)

Definition of Grande, Rio (Entry 7 of 17)

1 \ ˌrē-​ō-​ˈgrand How to pronounce ˌrē-ō-ˈgrand (audio) , -​ˈgran-​dē \ river in the U.S. and Mexico — see rio grande
2 \ ˌrē-​ō-​ˈgran-​də How to pronounce ˌrē-ō-ˈgran-də (audio) , -​dē \ river 680 miles (1094 kilometers) long in the eastern Brazil istate of Minas Gerais flowing west to unite with the Paranaíba River forming the Paraná River

Grande Prairie

geographical name (5)
Grande Prai·​rie | \ ˈgrand-ˈprer-ē How to pronounce Grande Prairie (audio) , -ˈprā-rē\

Definition of Grande Prairie (Entry 8 of 17)

city in western Alberta, Canada population 55,032


geographical name (6)
\ grän-ˈter How to pronounce Grande-Terre (audio) \

Definition of Grande-Terre (Entry 9 of 17)

island in French West Indies constituting the eastern portion of Guadeloupe area 220 square miles (572 square kilometers)

Rio Grande

geographical name (7)

Definition of Rio Grande (Entry 10 of 17)

1 \ ˌrē-​(ˌ)ō-​ˈgrand How to pronounce ˌrē-(ˌ)ō-ˈgrand (audio) , -​ˈgran-​dē also ˌrī-​ō-​ˈgrand \ or Mexican Spanish Río Bravo \ ˌrē-​(ˌ)ō-​ˈbrä-​(ˌ)vō How to pronounce Río Bravo (audio) \ river 1885 miles (3034 kilometers) long in the southwestern U.S. forming the boundary between Mexico and Texas and flowing from the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico
2 or Rio Grande do Sul \ ˌrē-​ü-​ˈgrän-​dē-​dü-​ˈsül How to pronounce Rio Grande do Sul (audio) \ city in Rio Grande do Sul state, southern Brazil, west of the entrance to Lagoa dos Patos population 197,228
3 \ ˌrē-​(ˌ)ō-​ˈgrän-​dā How to pronounce ˌrē-(ˌ)ō-ˈgrän-dā (audio) , -​dē \ municipality in northeastern Puerto Rico east-southeast of San Juan population 54,304

Rio Grande do Norte

geographical name (8)
Rio Gran·​de do Nor·​te | \ ˈrē-(ˌ)ü-ˈgrän-dē-dü-ˈnȯr-tē How to pronounce Rio Grande do Norte (audio) \

Definition of Rio Grande do Norte (Entry 11 of 17)

state of northeastern Brazil bordering the South Atlantic; capital Natal area 20,390 square miles (52,811 square kilometers), population 3,168,027

Rio Grande do Sul

geographical name (9)
\ -ˈsül How to pronounce Rio Grande do Sul (audio) \

Definition of Rio Grande do Sul (Entry 12 of 17)

state of southeastern Brazil bordering on Uruguay; capital Pôrto Alegre area 108,776 square miles (281,730 square kilometers), population 10,693,929

Sabana Grande

geographical name (10)
Sa·​ba·​na Gran·​de | \ sä-ˈbä-nä-ˈgrän-dā How to pronounce Sabana Grande (audio) \

Definition of Sabana Grande (Entry 13 of 17)

city in southwestern Puerto Rico west-northwest of Ponce population 25,265

grande champagne

noun (2)
grande cham·​pagne | \ ¦gran(d)ˌsham¦pān, -raan(d)ˌshaam-, gräⁿdshäⁿpȧnʸ\

Definition of grande champagne (Entry 14 of 17)

grande écaille

noun (3)
\ ˌgrändāˈkī\
variants: or less commonly grand-ecoy \ ˌgrändāˈkȯi \ or grande éscaille \ -​āˈkī \
plural grande écailles\ -​ī(z) \ also grand-ecoys\ -​ȯi(z) \ or grande éscailles\ -​ī(z) \

Definition of grande écaille (Entry 15 of 17)

: tarpon

grande passion

Definition of grande passion (Entry 16 of 17)

variant spelling of

Rio Grande disease

\ ˈrē|(ˌ)ōˈgrand-, -aand-, -dē-, -di- sometimes ˈrī| or |əˈ-\

Definition of Rio Grande disease (Entry 17 of 17)

: a disease of lettuce of unknown cause first reported from the Rio Grande valley and causing the older leaves to become reddish especially on the tips while the younger central ones blanch and do not grow to normal size

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for grande dame

Synonyms: Noun (1)

dame, dowager, matriarch, matron

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of grande dame in a Sentence

Noun (1)

the city's grandes dames still hold considerable sway in its cultural life

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Village Voice, the grande dame of alt-weeklies. Christine Biederman, WIRED, "Inside’s Vicious Battle With the Feds," 18 June 2019 For over thirty years, this Back Bay grande dame has been Boston's go-to place for an old-school steakhouse dinner. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Best Restaurants in Boston," 16 July 2018 There, deep in the recesses of a priceless landmark, a designer—or a grande dame—can work in peace and summon the forces of the past. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Exclusive: Tour Florence's Rarely Seen Palazzo Spini Feroni," 27 Feb. 2019 Photo: Knut Egil Wang for The Wall Street Jounal In April 1986, Norwegian actress Rut Tellefsen, a grande dame of the Oslo stage, bought the same apartment, which came with a basement studio. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "Inside an Oslo Home Immortalized by Edvard Munch," 8 Aug. 2018 Château d’Adrien: The old-school, grande dame of Verbier’s hotels, any skier worth her salt has stayed—or dined—here at one point or another. Todd Plummer, Harper's BAZAAR, "6 Envy-Inducing Ways to Experience the Best of Verbier," 1 Nov. 2018 Aspen’s grande dame hotel, The Little Nell, recently renovated its 86 guest rooms. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "The Millionaires Living in the Mining Cabins," 1 Nov. 2018 In the realm of memorable evenings, one of my standouts was a dinner around 1998 at grande dame Casey Ribicoff's Sutton Place apartment. Alex Hitz, House Beautiful, "Billionaire's Meatloaf from Alex Hitz," 8 Oct. 2014 The Breakers, 1 S. County Rd., 655-6611; The island's grande dame oceanfront resort, located on 140 acres in the center of town, with golf, tennis, beach club, shopping arcade, and full-service spa. Robert Janjigian, ELLE Decor, "ELLE DECOR Goes to Palm Beach," 16 Dec. 2010

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

See More

First Known Use of grande dame

Noun (1)

1775, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grande dame

Noun (1)

French, literally, great lady

Noun (2)

from Grande Champagne, vineyard area of Cognac, France

Noun (3)

Louisiana French grande écaille, literally, large or great scale


from the Rio Grande, river in the southwestern U.S.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grande dame

Statistics for grande dame

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grande dame

The first known use of grande dame was in 1775

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grande dame

grande dame


English Language Learners Definition of grande dame

: a usually old woman who is highly admired or respected

More from Merriam-Webster on grande dame

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grande dame

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grande dame

Comments on grande dame

What made you want to look up grande dame? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!