Mademoiselle
Went down to the well,
Combed her hair,
And brushed it well,
Then picked up her basket and
Vanished!

nursery rhyme

Mademoiselle, like Madame, had a special usage in the French royal family. Its usage was restricted to the unmarried daughters of enfants de France. The senior of these, generally the eldest daughter of the king's brother, was known simply as Mademoiselle. All the others were allowed to use one of their father's titles. So if a prince was duc de Bretagne and also of Anjou, Valois, Montpensier, and Eu, his daughter might be known as Mlle de Valois, as long as Valois was not being used by another member of the family.

Probably the most famous holder of this title was Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orléans, the very rich heiress and first cousin of Louis XIV. She was, among other things, duchesse de Montpensier, comtesse d'Eu, and princesse souveraine de Dombes, but was known simply as Mademoiselle, or as la Grande Mademoiselle, in order to distinguish her from her cousins, the children of Philippe de France, duc d'Orléans.

Ma`de*moi`selle" (?), n.; pl. Mesdemoiselles (#). [F., fr. ma my, f. of mon + demoiselle young lady. See Damsel.]

1.

A French title of courtesy given to a girl or an unmarried lady, equivalent to the English Miss.

Goldsmith.

2. Zool.

A marine food fish (Sciaena chrysura), of the Southern United States; -- called also yellowtail, and silver perch.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.