AskDefine | Define princess

Dictionary Definition

princess n : a female member of a royal family other than the queen (especially the daughter of a sovereign)

User Contributed Dictionary

see princes





  1. The female monarch, or wife of a ruler, of a principality.
    "Princess Grace was the Princess of Monaco."
  2. The daughter of a king, queen, emperor, empress, prince, or another princess.
  3. A beloved girl considered dainty; used as a term of endearment
  4. A young woman considered vain or selfish; a prima donna
    "You're a real princess." (said disdainfully)
  5. Princess seam is a seam with the line going over the bust

Usage notes

The male equivalent is prince.
A princess is usually styled “Her Highness”. A princess in a royal family is “Her Royal Highness”; in an imperial family “Her Imperial Highness”.


Related terms

Extensive Definition

Princess is the feminine form of prince (from Latin princeps, meaning principal citizen). Most often, the term has been used for the consort of a prince, or her daughters, women whose station in life depended on their relationship to a prince and who could be disowned and stripped of the title if he so chose.
For many centuries, the title "princess" was not regularly used for a monarch's daughter, who might simply be called "Lady" or a non-English equivalent; Old English had no female equivalent to "prince", "earl", or any royal or noble aside from the queen, and the women of nobility bore the title of "Lady".
As women have slowly gained more autonomy through European history, the title of princess has become simply the female counterpart of prince and does not necessarily imply being controlled or owned by a prince. In some cases then, a princess is the female hereditary head of state of a province or other significant area in her own right. The ancient meaning applies in Europe still to the extent that a female commoner who marries a prince will almost always become a princess, but a male commoner who marries a princess will almost never become a prince, unless his wife has, or is expected to attain, a higher title, such as Queen regnant. The implication is that if the man held the equivalent masculine title, he would have rank over his wife without the necessary pedigree.
In many of Europe's royal families, a king would grant his heirs actual or theoretical principalities to train them for future kingship or to give them social rank. This practice has led over time to many people thinking that "prince" and "princess" are titles reserved for the immediate family of a king or queen. In fact, most princesses in history were not immediate members of a royal family but women who married into it; however, in many cases, a princess would choose someone outside of royalty to wed.
Note: Although Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and India are Republics following the abolition of their Monarchies, these titles are granted as courtesy.

Other uses of the term

Widely used as a term of endearment, "princess" has also devolved in mostly American usage to mean any woman of exceptional popularity, such as the "princesses" of high school prom courts and beauty pageants. The term can also be used disparagingly to refer to a young woman or girl perceived of as being vain or spoiled. Another variation is "Jewish Princess" which focuses on affluent, free-spending, suburban Jewish women.
Yet another take on the rising popularity of being a "princess" is the gentleness and refined composure associated with the title. It often conjures images of elegance and self-control, and among the younger generations, is a depiction of all things feminine and lovely. In popular culture, the stereotypically ideal relationship between parents and a daughter consists of the mother and father considering their daughter to be their own "little princess." A fictional princess typically wears a pink princess gown with ballroom shoes or in other colors.
princess in Danish: Prinsesse
princess in Classical Chinese: 公主
princess in Korean: 공주 (칭호)
princess in Malay (macrolanguage): Puteri
princess in Japanese: 公主
princess in Norwegian: Prinsesse
princess in Polish: Księżniczka
princess in Romanian: Prinţesă
princess in Simple English: Princess
princess in Finnish: Prinsessa
princess in Swedish: Prinsessa
princess in Chinese: 公主

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Kaiserin, begum, crown princess, czarina, empress, grand duchess, infanta, kumari, kunwari, maharani, malikzadi, princesse, queen, queen consort, queen regent, queen regnant, raj-kumari, rani, shahzadi, sovereign princess, sovereign queen
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