prima donna

pri·​ma don·​na | \ ˌpri-mə-ˈdä-nə How to pronounce prima donna (audio) , ˌprē-\
plural prima donnas

Definition of prima donna

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

Jennifer Garner Older daughter Violet is about the same age as Suri Cruise, but seems like way less of a pint-size prima donna. Kim Fusaro, Woman's Day, "Which Famous Moms Would You Want to Be Friends With?," 5 July 2010 By being one of the few premium wide receivers who is not a prima donna and takes serious pride in his dirty work (including blocking), Jones is one of the NFL’s most respected players. Andy Benoit,, "How the Julio Jones Holdout Must Play Out," 13 June 2018 Two characters seemingly tossed in to further stimulate the plot are the obsequious hotel bellhop (Robert Moniz) and the ambitious local prima donna (Lori Kelley). Tom Titus,, "On Theater: A wild encore for ‘Tenor’ in Newport Beach," 7 June 2018 Some players even act just like prima donna magazine writers and fight with their editors over every word. Amos Barshad, New York Times, "What Happens When Athletes Do the Sportswriting?," 21 Feb. 2018 There is soprano Audrey Luna as the prima donna, whose stratospheric high notes are both an expression of her star power and a token of her inability to blend in with the others. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘The Exterminating Angel’ dazzles in PBS broadcast," 27 Mar. 2018 Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has assured fans that superstar Mohamed Salah is no prima donna, despite killing it week in, week out in the Premier League., "Mignolet Insists Red Hot Mohamed Salah's Feet Are Firmly on the Ground as Purple Patch Continues," 19 Dec. 2017 After another humiliating game for the Indianapolis Colts, this one a 27-0 loss on Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the losers’ prima donna receiver decided to point a finger. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Pointing fingers at clueless T.Y. Hilton and the hopeless Colts," 22 Oct. 2017 The situation Tuesday had tough guys around baseball – and less tough guys (writers) who work at keyboards – shaking their heads at what many thought was prima donna behavior by Strasburg when his team needs him the most. Tod Leonard,, "Hot reads: After all the drama, now Strasburg will start for Nats," 11 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prima donna.' 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 prima donna

1754, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prima donna

Italian, literally, first lady

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prima donna

Dictionary Entries near prima donna


prima ballerina


prima donna


prima facie


Statistics for prima donna

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prima donna

The first known use of prima donna was in 1754

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prima donna

prima donna


English Language Learners Definition of prima donna

: the main female singer in an opera company
disapproving : a person who thinks she or he is better than everyone else and who does not work well as part of a team or group

More from Merriam-Webster on prima donna

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prima donna

Spanish Central: Translation of prima donna

Comments on prima donna

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


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
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!