All Words > Beldam

illustration Beldam



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Middle English, 15th century


An old woman.


A witch.

Examples of Beldam in a sentence

"The beldam down the street lives alone and independently despite her age."

"Helen grew her own herbs and sold tinctures at the local market, earning her a reputation as a beldam."

About Beldam

“Beldam” is a combination of the Middle English “bel,” meaning “fine,” and “dam,” meaning “mother.”

Did you Know?

Though “beldam” is an expression for an old woman similar to “granny,” it can easily be mistaken for two other words. The first is “bedlam,” referring to chaos; though the two words are separated only by one letter, they are unrelated. The second word is the French expression “belle dame,” or “fair lady,” and “beldam” does not refer to this either. Instead, it refers to a Middle English expression for “fine mother.” From the 15th century on, the term referred to a grandmother or great-grandmother, and by the end of the 16th century it had begun to refer to any older woman — but also to frightening women in particular, which is how it became a term used to describe witches.

illustration Beldam

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