The term, which came into English in the Middle Ages from the French dame (compare Italian dama/donna, German Dame), derives from the Latin domina (“mistress”). Dame in English is generally confined to an honorific title; where derivatives of domina in other languages denote a woman of high social rank or status, English uses “lady” (Old English hlafdige = “[woman] who kneads bread”) as Spanish uses señora. As a courtly title, “Dame” was mostly used in con…
Cite this page
Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy.
Consulted online on 17 December 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_018152>