c. 1200, "unmarried or chaste woman noted for religious piety and having a position of reverence in the Church," from Anglo-French and Old French virgine "virgin; Virgin Mary," from Latin virginem (nominative virgo) "maiden, unwedded girl or woman," also an adjective, "fresh, unused," probably related to virga "young shoot," via a notion of "young" (compare Greek talis "a marriageable girl," cognate with Latin talea "rod, stick, bar").
Meaning "young woman in a state of inviolate chastity" is recorded from c. 1300. Also applied since early 14c. to a chaste man. Meaning "naive or inexperienced person" is attested from 1953. The adjective is recorded from 1550s in the literal sense; figurative sense of "pure, untainted" is attested from c. 1300. The Virgin Islands were named (in Spanish) by Columbus for St. Ursula and her 11,000 martyred virgin companions.
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