/mad'euh meuh zel", mad'mweuh-, mam zel"/; Fr. /mannd mwann zel"/, n., pl. mademoiselles /mad'euh meuh zelz", mad'mweuh-, mam zelz"/, mesdemoiselles /may'deuh meuh zel", mayd'mweuh zel"/; Fr. /mayd mwann zel"/.
1. (often cap.) a French title of respect equivalent to "Miss", used in speaking to or of a girl or unmarried woman: Mademoiselle Lafitte. Abbr.: Mlle.
2. a French governess.
3. See silver perch (def. 1).
[1635-45; < F; OF ma damoisele my noble young lady; see MADAME, DAMSEL]

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      the French equivalent of “Miss,” referring to an unmarried female. Etymologically it means “my (young) lady” (ma demoiselle).

      As an honorific title in the French royal court, it came to be used (without the adjunction of a proper name) to refer to or address the daughter of the king's eldest living brother, who was himself called monsieur. The first to be called mademoiselle was Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orléans, duchesse de Montpensier, popularly called La Grande Mademoiselle (Montpensier, Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orléans, Duchess de), who was the daughter of Gaston, duc d'Orléans (brother of Louis XIII). A later mademoiselle was Marie-Louise d'Orléans, daughter of Philippe I, duc d'Orleans (brother of Louis XIV), who became queen of Spain as the wife of Charles II.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • mademoiselle — plur. mesdemoiselles [ mad(ə)mwazɛl, med(ə)mwazɛl ] n. f. • XVe; de ma, adj. poss., et demoiselle I ♦ Anciennt 1 ♦ Titre de la fille aînée des frères ou oncles du roi. La Grande Mademoiselle, duchesse de Montpensier, cousine germaine de Louis XI …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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  • mademoiselle — mid 15c., unmarried Frenchwoman, from Fr. mademoiselle (12c.), from a compound of ma dameisele (see DAMSEL (Cf. damsel)), lit. young mistress …   Etymology dictionary

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