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A diva (English pronunciation: /ˈdiːvə/, Italian: [ˈdiːva]) is a celebrated female singer. The term is used to describe a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, and, by extension, in theatre, cinema and popular music. The meaning of diva is closely related to that of "prima donna".

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), a male deity.[3] The word is thus distantly related to the Hindu term deva and the Zoroastrian concept of the daevas.

The male divo does exist in Italian and it is usually reserved for the most prominent leading tenors, like Enrico Caruso or Beniamino Gigli. The Italian term divismo describes the star making system in the film industry.

The word "diva" is often used negatively, to describe a celebrity in film or music who is extremely demanding and fussy when it comes to personal privileges.[4]

An extravagant admiration for divas is a common element of camp culture.[5] In contemporary US slang usage, the term "diva" may be used to signify the female version of a "hustla", exemplified by Beyoncé's 2009 song "Diva".[6]


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