1. A maidservant or lady’s maid in a play or an opera, especially one who displays coquetry and engages in intrigue.
2. A young woman regarded as flirtatious.
3. A soprano who sings supporting roles in comic opera.
From French soubrette (maidservant), from Provençal soubreto, feminine of soubret (coy), from soubra (to set aside), from Latin superare (to be above). Ultimately from the Indo-European root uper (over) which is also the source of over, sovereign, super, supreme, sirloin, soprano, somersault, and hyper. Earliest documented use: 1753.
“Paloma Herrera played the soubrette who lures the hero from his longtime girlfriend, abandoning her own fiancé in the process.”
Elizabeth Zimmer; Stars in Alignment; The Australian (Sydney); Aug 1, 2009.
“Rebecca Bottone’s light soubrette contrasts well with Watts’s more voluptuous timbre.”
Hugh Canning; Catch Her If You Can; The Sunday Times (London, UK); Nov 8, 2009.
Explore “soubrette” in the Visual Thesaurus.