prima donna

noun

pri·​ma don·​na ˌpri-mə-ˈdä-nə How to pronounce prima donna (audio)
ˌprē-
plural prima donnas
1
: a principal female singer in an opera or concert organization
2
: a vain or undisciplined person who finds it difficult to work under direction or as part of a team

Examples of prima donna in a Sentence

The actress is a temperamental prima donna. We are looking for team players, not prima donnas.
Recent Examples on the Web Maui Sunrise: Roses have a prima donna reputation as high-maintenance water hogs, but Andy Klittich, manager of Otto & Sons Nursery in Fillmore (open to the public), says that’s a bad rap. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 Some might call it retrograde for a work from 1996, but its indebtedness to Puccini suits a story about a wistful prima donna in the early nineteen-hundreds. Condé Nast, The New Yorker, 10 Nov. 2023 As her star continued to rise over the years, Ms. Bumbry was never afraid to inhabit the prima donna role offstage as well as on, outfitting herself in Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta and tooling around in a Lamborghini. Alex Williams, New York Times, 8 May 2023 Except for one, who was a prima donna. Stephanie Wenger, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2022 By delivering a pitch-perfect performance as a fire-breathing prima donna, Welch also poked fun at her reputation (fairly earned or not) for being difficult to work with. Oliver Gettell, EW.com, 15 Feb. 2023 Even the indoor swimming pool was made to look fit for a prima donna. Stephanie Rosenbloom, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2022 But Mira turns out to be far less of a prima donna than her fellow actors, as Vikander’s subtle, sensitive performance gradually reveals. Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 Burly and a little unkempt, Madden earned a place in America’s heart with a likable, unpretentious style that was refreshing in a sports world of spiraling salaries and prima donna stars. Josh Dubow, chicagotribune.com, 29 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prima donna.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Italian, literally, first lady

First Known Use

1754, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prima donna was in 1754

Dictionary Entries Near prima donna

Cite this Entry

“Prima donna.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prima%20donna. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

prima donna

noun
pri·​ma don·​na ˌprim-ə-ˈdän-ə How to pronounce prima donna (audio)
ˌprē-mə-
plural prima donnas
1
: a principal female singer in an opera or concert organization
2
: a person who is easily hurt or upset or is stuck-up
Etymology

Italian, literally, "first lady"; prima from Latin prima, a feminine form of primus "first," donna from Latin domina "lady, mistress," a feminine form of dominus "master" — related to dame, prime

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