AskDefine | Define dona

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin domina


  1. woman
  2. wife

Usage notes

  • Not the same as dóna (form of the verb donar)






  1. Form of Third-person singular present tense, donare
  2. Form of Second-person singular imperative, donare#Italian|donare

Scottish Gaelic


dona (comparative nas/ na b' miosa, superlative as/ a b' miosa)
  1. bad
    ’S math sin. (That’s good.)




  1. doughnut


Extensive Definition

Don, from Latin dominus, is a Spanish (pron. ) and Portuguese (Dom, ) honorific title. It is usually used as a mark of high esteem for a distinguished Christian hidalgo or fidalgo; that is, a nobleman.
The honorific was also used among Ladino-speaking Sephardi Jews, as part of the Spanish culture which they took with them after the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Its abbreviation, particularly in Portuguese, is "D." It is still used in reference to priests, like the French Dom. The treatment was reserved for those who had royal or some higher old noble ancestry, as well as some title bearers who had their title without needing but the King's confirmation instead of authorization, the so called titles de Juro e Herdade. In Brazil it was not used in reference to nobles, but was used to refer to royals (both to the monarch and to princes), and, in the ranks of the clergy, it is only used to refer to Bishops or other senior ecclesiastical hierachs.
The use is roughly comparable to the style The Honourable of British custom, but closer to Lord or Lady, although the analogy is a loose one, at best. The female version is Doña (Spanish, pron. IPA: ['d̪o.ɲa]) and Dona (Portuguese, pron. IPA: ['do.nɐ]) abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D.".
The traditional usage of the honorific is Don for the Royals, Grandees of Spain and his relatives, and don as a courtesy respectful treatment for everyone else of some position. In Portugal, the feminine form has been used as a compliment for elderly women irrespectively of birth and rank, but is often seen as an ageing treatment.
Don/Dom or Doña/Dona is attached to a person's given name. It is generally preceded by the acronym Sr. (for Señor): 'Sr. Don Diego de la Vega,' 'Don Diego de la Vega,' or simply 'Don Diego' (the secret identity of Zorro). Attachment to the surname without the given name, for example 'Don de la Vega,' is incorrect.
Nowadays it is often used as a standard form of address in Spain, similarly as Mister is in English. In Spain the title is sometimes used to refer to a graduate of High School.
In some Latin American countries, Don/Dom or Doña/Dona is used to refer to wealthy influential people as a substitute to the more common "Señor" or "Señora".
In Italy, it is the style to address a noble (as distinct from reigning) prince (principe) or duke (duca), and their children and agnatic descendants. Its feminine is donna. It is also used to refer to a priest, or, less commonly, to monks.
In North America, Don is sometimes used as an honorific for a Mafia crime boss, having its origins on the same honorific treatment came from Southern Italy, where Spanish influence was significant.
At Oxford and Cambridge universities, members of the academic staff are sometimes referred to as a Don - a remnant of the time when these universities were considered religious institutions and their staff a kind of clergy. In practice within Oxford it is used to refer to fellows of the colleges. At Cambridge it is rarely, if ever, used.

See also

dona in Bulgarian: Дон (титла)
dona in German: Don (Spanisch)
dona in Spanish: Don (tratamiento)
dona in Esperanto: Don/Doña
dona in French: Don (titre)
dona in Japanese: ドン (尊称)
dona in Polish: Don (tytulatura)
dona in Russian: Дон (титул)
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