Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An old woman, particularly an ugly one.
  • n. grandmother.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a woman of advanced age
  • n. an ugly evil-looking old woman

Etymologies

From late Middle English (1400-1450) bel (fine) + dam (mother). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Replied the beldame, “O my daughter, we fear for thee.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • “What work are you about now?” says Judy, making an ancient snap at her like a very sharp old beldame.

    Bleak House

  • When the dismal news of his great loss was carried to the Prince, he suspected his godmother very much indeed; but, he knew that his servants must have kept company with the malicious beldame, and must have given way to her, and therefore he resolved to turn those servants out of their places.

    Reprinted Pieces

  • And does it not appear to you that this same beldame incontinence shuts out wisdom, which is the best of all things,575 from mankind, and plunges them into the opposite?

    Memorabilia

  • On the other hand, she is definitely the beldame of taste.

    it’s No Name-Calling Week, mofos! « raincoaster

  • Influenced by such considerations, he yielded to the first importunity of the beldame, whom he dismissed at a very small distance from the village, after he had earnestly exhorted her to quit such an atrocious course of life, and atone for her past crimes, by sacrificing her associates to the demands of justice.

    The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

  • Ferdinand sounded the beldame with a thousand artful interrogations, and she answered with such appearance of truth and simplicity, that he concluded his person was quite secure; and, after having been regaled with a dish of eggs and bacon, desired she would conduct him into the chamber where she proposed he should take his repose.

    The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

  • The beldame has the impudence too, after she has brought me into this dilemma, to solicit my assistance to stock the farm anew!

    The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle

  • Plucking up his sleeve, the beldame recognized the mole; and, staggering back in her chair, shrieked:

    Between the Acts

  • The young Prince (Albert Perry) was almost smothered in the withered arms of the beldame.

    Between the Acts

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  • "A hot flush rose into his cheeks, and his eyes raked over me, his attention temporarily distracted from the leeches by being so familiarly addressed by what—I suddenly realized—appeared to be a disheveled beldame with her skirts round her thighs."
    —Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (NY: Dell, 1997), 471

    January 19, 2010

  • or beldam

    February 23, 2007