What’s in a Name? Diva!

Hello! Today I am just going to semi-vent…okay, maybe I am venting! Several women have contacted me to tell me that they find the word ‘diva’ derogatory and maybe I should look for another word to get my point across.

Well, I guess I could. …I could…but I’m not. You see the origins of the word diva are why I choose it.

Let’s define it!


The word entered the English language in the late 19th century. It is derived from the Italian noun diva, a female deity. The plural of the word in English is “divas”; in Italian, dive [ˈdiːve]. The basic sense of the term is goddess,[1][2] the feminine of the Latin word divus (Italian divo), someone deified after death, or Latin deus, a god.[3]

The male form divo exists in Italian and is usually reserved for the most prominent leading tenors, like Enrico Caruso and Beniamino Gigli. The Italian term divismo describes the star-making system in the film industry. In contemporary Italian, diva and divo simply denote much-admired celebrities, especially film actresses and actors, and can be translated as “(film) star”. The Italian actress Lyda Borelli is considered the first cinematic diva, following her breakthrough role in Love Everlasting (1913).[4]

An extravagant admiration for divas is a common element of camp culture.[5]

Modern usage

In 1992, singer Annie Lennox released her first post-Eurythmics album Diva. In 1998, VH1 debuted its first annual VH1 Divas concert in support of VH1’s Save The Music Foundation. The concert event brought together five of the world’s most celebrated divas: Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and Aretha Franklin.

Now, I am not naive . I know that in today’s society it is often used as a derogatory term for women who are difficult to get along with. My issue with that is why should I allow other people to re-define ‘diva’.

So…at least for now–Diva it is!

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