Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A popular fairy tale embodying a classic folk tale myth-element of unjust oppression and triumphant reward, of which there were hundreds of versions before modern times.
  • proper n. The main character in this story, a mistreated and impoverished girl. At a royal ball she meets a handsome prince who later identifies her with a dropped article, most commonly a slipper, and removes her from her poverty.
  • proper n. A female given name
  • n. A mistreated and impoverished girl.
  • n. Rising unexpectedly from obscurity to success, as a Cinderella team.
  • n. Neglected and denied resources, as a Cinderella service.
  • n. A stamp or stamp-like label issued for purposes other than postal administration, not issued by a central government, or not listed in most general catalogues.
  • n. A woman employed to clean, especially to remove ash from stoves and fireplaces.

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

  • n. a woman whose merits were not been recognized but who then achieves sudden success and recognition
  • n. a fictional young girl who is saved from her stepmother and stepsisters by her fairy godmother and a handsome prince

Etymologies

After Cinderella, the fairy-tale character who escapes from a life of drudgery and marries a prince, translation of French Cendrillon.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From cinder, as if little cinder girl. Compare French Cendrillon. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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