1580s, Italian title of address or courtesy, equivalent to madam; from c. 1600 as a noun, "an Italian lady," from Italian madonna, from Old Italian ma donna (Italian mia donna) "my lady," from ma "my" + donna "lady," from Latin domina "lady, mistress of the house," from Latin domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").
Often specifically "the Virgin Mary," hence the sense of "picture or statue of the Virgin Mary," attested in English by 1640s. The U.S. singer/dancer (full name Madonna Louise Ciccone, b. 1958) attained to pop stardom in the fall of 1984.
c. 1300, formal term of address to a lady (a woman of rank or authority, or the mistress of a household), from Old French ma dame, literally "my lady," from Latin mea domina (see Donna, and compare madonna). It became a conventional term of address to women of any degree (but chiefly to the married and matronly); also "a woman of fashion or pretension" (often with a suggestion of disparagement) by 1590s. From 1719 as "a courtesan, a prostitute;" the meaning "female owner or manager of a brothel" is attested by 1871.
The title of Madam is sometimes given here, and generally in Charleston (S. Carolina), and in the South, to a mother whose son has married, and the daughter-in-law is then called Mrs. By this means they avoid the inelegant phraseology of old Mrs. A., or the Scotch, Mrs. A senior. [Sir Charles Lyell, "A Second Visit to the United States of North America," 1849]
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."
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.