dame (n.)

c. 1200, "a mother," also "a woman of rank or high social position; superior of a convent," and an address for a woman of rank or position, used respectfully to other ladies, from Old French dame "lady, mistress, wife," from Late Latin domna, from Latin domina "lady, mistress of the house," from Latin domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").

From early 14c. as "a woman" in general, particularly a mature or married woman or the mistress of a household. Used in Middle English with personifications (Study, Avarice, Fortune, Richesse, Nature, Misericordie). In later use the legal title for the wife of a knight or baronet.

Slang sense of "woman" in the broadest sense, without regard to rank or anything else, is attested by 1902 in American English.

We got sunlight on the sand
We got moonlight on the sea
We got mangoes and bananas
You can pick right off the tree
We got volleyball and ping-pong
And a lot of dandy games!
What ain't we got?
We ain't got dames! 
[Richard Rodgers, "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame," 1949]
Related entries & more 
grandame (n.)
also grandam, c. 1200, "a grandmother; an old woman," from grand- + dame. Compare Anglo-French graund dame. Contracted form grannam attested from 1590s. Grand dame "great lady, lady of rank and dignity" (1744) is a modern borrowing from French.
Related entries & more 
dam (n.2)

"animal mother, female parent of a quadruped," mid-15c., damme, variant of dame "lady, mother" (q.v.), which is attested from early 14c. in this secondary sense. The two forms were somewhat interchangeable in Middle English, but the meanings diverged into separate spellings by 16c., and any use of dam for women since then has been slighting.

Related entries & more 
beldam (n.)
also beldame, "aged woman," 1570s; earlier "grandmother" (mid-15c.), from dame (q.v.) in the sense of "mother" + bel-, Middle English prefix expressing relationship (as in belfader, belsire "grandfather"), from Old French bel, belle "beautiful, fair, fine" (see belle). This "direct relationship" sense of bel is not found in French, where the prefix, however, is used to form words for in-laws.
Related entries & more 
damsel (n.)

early 13c., damisele, "young, unmarried woman," especially a maiden of gentle birth, also "maid in waiting, handmaiden assisting a lady," from Anglo-French damaisele and Old French dameisele "woman of noble birth" (Modern French demoiselle "young lady"), modified (by association with dame) from earlier donsele, from Gallo-Roman *domnicella, diminutive of Latin domina "lady" (see dame). Archaic until revived by romantic poets, along with 16c.-17c. variant form damozel (which was used by Spenser). Damsel-fly for "dragon-fly" is by 1815, from a sense in French demoiselle.

Related entries & more 
prima donna (n.)

also primadonna, 1782, "principal female singer in an opera," from Italian prima donna "first lady," from Latin prima, fem. of primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + domina "lady" (see dame). Extended meaning "temperamental person" is attested by 1834.

The erroneous form premadonna (or pre-madonna) is attested from at least 1950s and increasingly after 1990s. Not to be confused with the adjective pre-Madonna (by 1991), in reference to popular music before the rise to stardom of Madonna (Madonna Louise Ciccone), c. 1985.

Related entries & more 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "house, household." It represents the usual Indo-European word for "house" (Italian, Spanish casa are from Latin casa "cottage, hut;" Germanic *hus is of obscure origin).

It forms all or part of: Anno Domini; belladonna; condominium; dame; damsel; dan "title of address to members of religious orders;" danger; dangerous; demesne; despot; Dom Perignon; domain; dome; domestic; domesticate; domicile; dominate; domination; dominion; domino; don (n.) "Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese title of respect;" Donna; dungeon; ma'am; madam; madame; mademoiselle; madonna; major-domo; predominant; predominate; timber; toft.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit damah "house;" Avestan demana- "house;" Greek domos "house," despotēs "master, lord;" Latin domus "house," dominus "master of a household;" Armenian tanu-ter "house-lord;" Old Church Slavonic domu, Russian dom "house;" Lithuanian dimstis "enclosed court, property;" Old Norse topt "homestead."

Related entries & more 
gloam (n.)
1821 (Keats, "La Belle Dame sans Merci"), a back-formation from gloaming that consciously or not revives the Old English noun.
Related entries & more 
Roman goddess of fertility, Latin Maia, literally "she who brings increase," from PIE *mag-ya- "she who is great" (suffixed form of root *meg- "great"). Maia, one of the Pleiades, is from Greek Maia, daughter of Atlas, mother of Hermes, literally "mother, good mother, dame; foster-mother, nurse, midwife," said by Watkins to be from infant babbling (see mamma).
Related entries & more 
Quasimodo (n.)

"Low Sunday," 1706, Quasimodo Sunday, from Latin quasi modo, first words of introit for the first Sunday after Easter: quasi modo geniti infantes "as newborn babes" (1 Peter ii.2). The hunchback in Hugo's novel was abandoned as an infant at Notre Dame on this day, hence his name. For first element, see quasi; for second, see mode (n.1).

Related entries & more