Carabosse is a stock name for a wicked fairy godmother. It was most famously used in Tchaikovsky's ballet Sleeping Beauty, although it was well-known long before Tchaikovsky used it. Although it is most closely associated with the Sleeping Beauty story, it does not appear in either Charles Perrault's original La Belle au bois dormant (The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, 1697), nor the Brothers Grimm's better known version, Dornröschen (Little Briar Rose, 1812). The name first appeared in Madame d'Aulnoy's collection Les Contes des Fées (Fairy Tales, 1697), where she is the villain in the story La Princesse Printanière (Princess Mayblossom). She later appeared in other fairy tales, but is by far most strongly associated with Sleeping Beauty.
The name Carabosse is slightly confusing, but very descriptive. Bosse means a hump in French, and is used most often to refer to a hunchback. But in the olden days, it also referred to a bubo, a swollen lump as one would get from the pox. The educated upper-class readers of Les Contes des Fées would have recognized cara as the Latin (and Spanish) word for 'face', making the meaning of 'disfigured old crone' readily apparent. However, the name Carabosse probably was not recognizable as meaning much of anything to anyone by the time it came into common usage in later centuries.
Madame d'Aulnoy also wrote about another wicked fairy godmother, Magotine, who was the older sister of Carabosse. Sadly, Magotine has not entered the public awareness in the same way that Carabosse has. In 1959 Disney renamed the wicked fairy godmother in their rendition of Sleeping Beauty, calling her Maleficent, and this name has become more popular than Carabosse in America and other English speaking countries. Maleficent has, however, become more heavily associated with workers of dark magic in general, rather than wicked fairy godmothers in specific.
Carabosse appears in most theatrical productions of Sleeping Beauty and its adaptations, parodies, and sequels. She also appears in a number of other works, the majority of them French. Some notable appearances include: