Etymology
Advertisement
magdalen (n.)

"reformed prostitute," 1690s, in reference to "Mary called Magdalene out of whom went seven devils," disciple of Christ (Luke viii.2), who often is identified (especially since 5c. and especially in the Western Church) with the unnamed penitent "woman in the city, which was a sinner" in Luke vii.37-50. See Magdalene.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Magdalene 

fem. proper name, from Latin (Maria) Magdalena, "Mary of Magdala," the companion and supporter of Jesus, from Greek Magdalene, literally "woman of Magdala," from Aramaic (Semitic) Maghdela, place on the Sea of Galilee, literally "tower" (compare Hebrew migdal "tower," from gadal "be great or high"). The vernacular form of the name, via French, has come to English as maudlin.

Related entries & more