Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


n (dated)Soubrette f (dated)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
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.
'For your master.' I have no other master but you; so- a pretty little lass, my faith, is that SOUBRETTE!"
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.
"Today you'll only find me playing a soubrette in the shower, singing an aria in an Acura, or concluding a Cadenza in a Corolla.
Travers said Poppins was "already beloved for what she was--plain, vain and incorruptible--(and now) transmogrified into a soubrette."She added: "And how was it that Mary Poppins herself, the image of propriety, came to dance a can-can on the roof-top displaying all her underwear?
Twentieth-century casting practices further complicate this picture, with Marguerite often cast as a fuller lyric soprano (perhaps in line with the Falcon designation) and Siebel as a mezzo-soprano (as opposed to the more soubrette Dugazon soprano type).
And then we come to Zerbinetta, soubrette leader of the Commedia players, masterminding their improvisations whilst giving the suffering Ariadne her pragmatic philosophy on life and men.
This chamber piece, whose difficulty calls for a conductor, was first performed by the Society for Modern Music in Prague in 1930, with Karel Ancerl conducting and soubrette Nelly Gaierova singing, and then again in Prague a year later, this time in Radiojournal, conducted by Otakar Jeremias and sung by Czech contemporary music expert Masa Fleisherova.