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a. A saucy, coquettish, intriguing maidservant in comedies or comic opera.
b. An actress or a singer taking such a part.
2. A young woman regarded as flirtatious or frivolous.

[French, from Provençal soubreto, feminine of soubret, conceited, from soubra, to leave aside, from Old Provençal sobrar, to be excessive, from Latin superāre, from super, above; see uper in Indo-European roots.]


1. (Theatre) a minor female role in comedy, often that of a pert lady's maid
2. any pert or flirtatious girl
[C18: from French: maidservant, from Provençal soubreto, from soubret conceited, from soubra to exceed, from Latin superāre to surmount, from super above]
souˈbrettish adj



1. a maidservant or lady's maid in a play, opera, or the like, esp. one displaying coquetry, pertness, and a tendency to engage in intrigue.
2. an actress playing such a role.
3. any lively or pert young woman.
[1745–55; < French: lady's maid < Occitan soubreto, feminine of soubret affected, ultimately < Latin superāre to be above]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.soubrette - a pert or flirtatious young girl
fille, girl, miss, missy, young lady, young woman - a young woman; "a young lady of 18"
2.soubrette - a minor female role as a pert flirtatious lady's maid in a comedy
bit part, minor role - a small role


n (dated)Soubrette f (dated)
References in classic literature ?
The latter--a pretty girl of about twenty or twenty-two years, active and lively, the true SOUBRETTE of a great lady--jumped from the step upon which, according to the custom of the time, she was seated, and took her way toward the terrace upon which D'Artagnan had perceived Lubin.
D'Artagnan followed the soubrette with his eyes, and saw her go toward the terrace; but it happened that someone in the house called Lubin, so that Planchet remained alone, looking in all directions for the road where D'Artagnan had disappeared.
The conversation between Milady and the cavalier was so animated that D'Artagnan stopped on the other side of the carriage without anyone but the pretty SOUBRETTE perceiving his presence.
The pretty SOUBRETTE cast an anxious glance at D'Artagnan, whose good looks seemed to have made an impression on her.
She is making the tour du monde entirely alone, without even a soubrette to carry the ensign, for the purpose of seeing for herself a quoi s'en tenir sur les hommes et les choses- -on les hommes particularly.
Cette mise en scene des Bonnes de Jean Genet a mis sceniquement en avant cette idee de la mort grace a un travail laborieux dans la direction des deux actrices, Rajae kharmaz et Jalila Talemsi qui ont campes le role des deux soubrettes, Claire et Solange.
Student A is a coloratura; Students C, D, and F are full lyrics; and Students E and G are light soubrettes.
Stage director Oriol Thomas was misguided here in augmenting Rossini's opera with four Ziegfield soubrettes as Figaro's assistants.
who were represented as Soubrettes included Molly Picon, Clara Young,
filled up the background with soubrettes, brigands, ecclesiastics and faithful servants; and all these people develop, in her later books, a power of appropriate gesture and resonant phrase that carries them triumphantly through their strong scenes.