beldam "aged woman," 1570s; earlier "grandmother" (mid-15c.), from DAME (Cf. dame) (q.v.) in the sense of "mother" + bel-, M.E. prefix expressing relationship (Cf. belfader, belsire "grandfather"), from O.Fr. bel, belle "beautiful, fair, fine" (see BELLE (Cf. belle)). This "direct relationship" sense of bel is not found in French, where the prefix is used to form words for in-laws.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beldam — Bel dam Beldame Bel dame, n. [Pref. bel , denoting relationship + dame mother: cf. F. belledame fair lady, It. belladonna. See {Belle}, and {Dame}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Grandmother; corresponding to belsire. [1913 Webster] To show the beldam… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Beldam — is* an ancient Greek vase painter, see Beldam Painter * a character of Paper Mario, see …   Wikipedia

  • beldam — or beldame [bel′dəm] n. [ME, grandmother < bel, good, beautiful < OFr bel, used as term of affection and respect in the Middle Ages (see BEAU) + DAME] 1. Obs. a grandmother 2. an old woman; esp., a hideous old woman; hag …   English World dictionary

  • beldam — /ˈbɛldæm/ (say beldam) noun Archaic 1. an old woman, especially an ugly one; hag. 2. a grandmother. Also, beldame /ˈbɛldam/ (say beldahm). {Middle English: grandmother, from bel (from Old French: bel, belle fair) used like grand (def. 12) + dam …   Australian English dictionary

  • beldam — or beldame noun Etymology: Middle English beldam grandmother, from Anglo French bel beautiful + Middle English dam Date: 1520 an old woman …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Beldam — This interesting and unusual name, with variant spellings Beldom, Beldham, Beldum and Beldan, derives from the Anglo French beledame , Old French belle dame , translating as beautiful or fine lady, and was originally given as a complimentary… …   Surnames reference

  • beldam — /bel deuhm, dam/, n. 1. an old woman, esp. an ugly one; hag. 2. Obs. grandmother. Also, beldame /bel deuhm, daym /. [1400 50; late ME, equiv. to bel grand ( < MF bel, belle fine; see BEAU, BELLE) + dam mother (see DAM2)] * * * …   Universalium

  • beldam — Synonyms and related words: Jezebel, Mafioso, Young Turk, bag, bat, battle ax, beast, berserk, berserker, biddy, bitch, bitch kitty, bomber, brute, cat, common scold, crone, dame, demon, devil, dowager, drab, dragon, fiend, fire eater, firebrand …   Moby Thesaurus

  • beldam — (Roget s Thesaurus II) (or beldame) noun An ugly, frightening old woman: crone, hag, witch. Slang: biddy. Archaic: trot. See BEAUTIFUL …   English dictionary for students

  • beldam — bel·dam || beldÉ™m n. wicked old woman, hag …   English contemporary dictionary

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