Definitions for debutanteˈdɛb yʊˌtɑnt
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a young woman making a debut into society.
Origin of debutante:
1795–1805; < F; fem. of débutant
a young woman making her debut into society
a young woman who makes her first formal appearance in society
a person who makes his (or her) first appearance before the public
A debutante is a girl or young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity and, as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal "debut" presentation. Originally, it meant the young woman was eligible to marry, and part of the purpose was to display her to eligible bachelors and their families with a view to marriage within a select upper class circle. Debutantes may be recommended by a distinguished committee or sponsored by an established member of elite society. It should not be confused with an Irish "deb." Debut presentations vary by regional culture and are also frequently referenced as "debutante balls," "cotillion balls" or "coming-out" parties. The male equivalent is often referred to as "beautillion ball". A lone debutante might have her own debut, or she might share it with a sister or other close relative. Modern debutante balls are often charity events: the parents of the debutante donate a certain amount of money to the designated cause, and the invited guests pay for their tickets. These balls may be elaborate formal affairs and involve not only "debs" but junior debutantes, escorts and ushers, flower girls and pages as well.
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