belle

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the belle of the ball

The woman who draws the most attention in a certain social situation. Honey, in this beautiful prom gown, you'll be the belle of the ball!
See also: ball, belle, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

belle of the ball

the most admired and successful woman on a particular occasion.
The belle of the ball was originally the girl or woman regarded as the most beautiful and popular at a dance.
See also: ball, belle, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

belle of the ball, the

The most beautiful or most popular person present. The word belle, for “beautiful woman,” came into English directly from French in the early seventeenth century. After balls and similar grand social occasions became relatively rare, the original meaning—the reigning beauty at a dance—was widened to include the outstanding individual (male or female) at virtually any gathering. Today the term is often used ironically, for someone who would like to be so regarded.
See also: belle, of
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

belle of the ball

The most appealing woman at a dance or another social occasion. “Ball” refers to a formal dance, at which there was usually one female who was the cynosure of all male eyes. At other occasions too—case in point: Scarlett O'Hara at the barbecue at Tara where men fell all over themselves to fetch her a plate of food. Fiddle-dee-dee indeed.
See also: ball, belle, of
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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