girl is a slim, elegant young woman who is, or is perceived to be, mischievous, teasing or sexually appealing.

The word gamine is a French word, the feminine form of a kid , an urchin , a waif or playful, naughty child. It was used in English from about the mid-19th century (for example, by William Makepeace Thackeray in 1840 in one of his Parisian sketches), but in the 20th century, came to be applied in its more modern sense.


In 1997 the publisher HarperCollins drew up a list of 101 words – one year – that defined the years 1896 to 1997. [1] “Gamine” was chosen for 1899, being described by Philip Howard in The Times as follows:

An elfish young woman. Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday was the archetypal, unforgettable, adorable kid. [2]

Gamine has been used in performing arts or world of fashion. In that context, the closest English word – of Anglo-Norman origin – is probably “waif” (although “gamine” is often seen as conveying an additional sense of style and chic ). For example, in a press release of 1964, impresario Andrew Oldham described the 17-year-old singer Marianne Faithfull as “shy, wistful, waif-like”; [3] and writer and musician John Friends referred to German-born actress Luise Rainer (b.1910) as Paul Muni’s “waif-wife” in the 1937 film, The Good Earth . [4]

Gaminerie HAS beens Sometimes used in English with reference to the behavior or characteristics of kid (s).

In silent movies

In the early 20th century, silent movies brought to public attention to a number of actresses who sported a cute look. These included the Canadian-born Mary Pickford (1892-1979), who became known as “America’s Sweetheart” and, with her husband Douglas Fairbanks , was one of the founders of the film production company United Artists ; Lillian Gish (1893-1993), notably in Way Down East (1920); and Louise Brooks (1906-86), whose short bobbed hairstyle , widely copied in the 1920s, came to be regarded as both a ” Bohemian ” trait (this style having first appeared among the Parishalf world before World War I and London art students during the war. [5] In 1936, Charlie Chaplin cast his then-girlfriend Paulette Goddard (1910-1990) as an orphaned gamine (credited as “A Kid”) in one of his last silent films, Modern Times .

Audrey Hepburn and the boys of the 1950s

In the 1950s “gamine” was particularly applied to the style and appearance of the Belgian- born actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993): for example, in the movies, Sabrina (1954) and Funny Face (1957). Hepburn also played the role of the Gigi Groom in New York (1951) in the play of that name, based on the novel (1945) by Colette , who had personally “talented-spotted” when he was filming in Monte Carlo . [6] On film and in photographs, Hepburn’s short hair and a small figure created a distinct and enduring “look”, well defined by Don Macpherson, [7]who cited her “naiveté which did not rule out sophistication”, and described her as “the first gamine to be accepted as overpoweringly chic”.

Leslie Caron ( b.1931 ), who played the leading role in the 1958 musical film of Gigi ; Jean Seberg (1938-79), best known in Hello Tristesse (1957) and Jean-Luc Godard ‘s Breathless (1960); Jean Simmons (1929), for example, in Angel Face (1952); and Rita Tushingham (1940), whose first starring role was in A Taste of Honey (1961). The French singer Juliette Greco (1926), who emerged from Bohemian Paris in the late 1940s to become an international star in the 1950s, also had gamine qualities.

1960s and beyond

In many ways, the “gamine look” of the 1950s Jean Shrimpton ( b.1942 ), one of the first to promote the mini-skirt in 1965; Twiggy (B. Lesley Hornby, 1949), who became “The Face of ’66”; [8] and Kate Moss (b 1974), associated in the 1990s with the ” waif ” look and what, notably through an advertising campaign for Calvin Klein in 1997, became known as ” heroin chic .” Moss was part of a trend of “wafer” thin models which was satirized in Neil Kerber’scartoon strip, “Supermodels,”

Other girls

Others who have been described as having children include Danish-French actress Anna Karina (b 1940); American actresses Julia Roberts (b.1967), Edie Sedgwick (1943-1971), Elizabeth Hartman (1943-1987), Mia Farrow(b.1945), Sissy Spacek (1949), Winona Ryder (1971), [9] Michelle Williams (1980), Gwyneth Paltrow (1972), [10] Calista Flockhart (1964), [11] Bridget Fonda (b 1964), [12] Mary Stuart Masterson(b.196), [13] Jennifer Jason Leigh (b 1962), [14] and Ginnifer Goodwin (b 1978); British actresses Carey Mulligan (1985), Susannah York (1939-2011), [15] Suzanna Hamilton (b 1960), Helena Bonham Carter (b 1966), Elisabeth Sladen (1946-2011), Carole Ann Ford ( b. 1940) [16] Tara FitzGerald (1967), Olivia Williams (1968), Rachel Weisz (1970), [17] Keira Knightley (1985), [18] and Emma Watson.(1990); [19] Portuguese actress Maria de Medeiros (b 1965); French actresses Juliette Binoche(b 1964), Audrey Tautou (b 1976), and Vanessa Paradis (b 1972); Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman (1981 b); Canadian model Linda Evangelista (b 1965); [20] American models Kristen McMenamy (b 1964) [21] and Tina Chow (1951-92) (whose “gamine look made the darling of [photographers] Cecil Beaton and Arthur Elgort ” [22] ); Russian tennis playerAnastasia Myskina (1981 b); and American singer Cat Power (b Chan Marshall, 1972) (“The French, in particular, takes a look at her looks and confused air” [23] ).

Penelope Chetwode (1910-86), later Lady Betjeman, wife of the Poet Laureate, John Betjeman , was described by Betjeman’s biographer AN Wilson as “gamine of feature, but wide-breasted”. [24] Corinne Bailey Rae alleged that she was called a kid in her song, “Choux Pastry Heart” (2005).

Japanese 1990s J-Pop band vocalist rock Maki Watase was called “spry gamine firecracker” in the New Music Express.

In film

Among the notable characters of film are Gelsomina, the street performer from La Strada , played by Giulietta Masina ; Bree Daniels, the prostitute played by Jane Fonda (b.1937) inKlute(1971) (whose hairstyle was sometimes referred to as “Klute shag”); Nikita ( Anne Parillaud , b 1960.), The titular punkish junkie in Luc Besson ‘s 1990 movie ; and, most recently, Amelie (Audrey Tautou) in the 2001 romantic comedy of that name .


  1. Jump up^ SeeThe Times, 3 November 1997
  2. Jump up^ The Times, 3 November 1997
  3. Jump up^ Faithfull – An Autobiography, 1994
  4. Jump up^ The Oldie, August 2006
  5. Jump up^ Virginia Nicholson (2002)Among the Bohemians
  6. Jump up^ Judith Thurman (1999)Secrets of the Flesh – A Life of Colette
  7. Jump up^ Stars of the Screen(Marks & Spencer, 1989)
  8. Jump up^ “The face of ’66” BBC News
  9. Jump up^ Traill-Nash, Glynis (April 1, 2007). “Cream of the child crop” . The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 29 August 2014 .
  10. Jump up^ The Austin Chronicle 2009-02-27. (27 February 2009). Retrieved on 18 October 2011.
  11. Jump up^ People Magazine 11 May 1998. (11 May 1998). Retrieved on 18 October 2011.
  12. Jump up^ Kael, Pauline (May 15, 1991). 5001 Nights at the Movies . Henry Holt and Company. p. 657. ISBN  978-0-8050-1367-2 .
  13. Jump up^ McEnroe, Colin (27 January 1992). “Casting About In A Sea Of Same-named Actresses” . Hartford Current . Retrieved 25 August 2014 .
  14. Jump up^ Lodge, David (2002). Consciousness & the Novel: Connected Essays. Harvard University Press. p. 212. ISBN  978-0-674-00949-3 .
  15. Jump up^ Susannah York, the gentle star of the 1960s cinema, dies after battle against cancer | Movie | Guardian. Retrieved on 18 October 2011.
  16. Jump up^ Movies – movies, movie, hollywood, business, entertainment – – Retrieved on 18 October 2011.
  17. Jump up^ Richard Ward,She, July 2005
  18. Jump up^ Hohenadel, Kristin (9 May 2004). “Summer Movies – Keira Knightley: Acting Without the Acting Out” . New York Times . Retrieved September 30, 2017 .
  19. Jump up^ Tookey, Chris (27 September 2012). “Hermione’s the new Hepburn!” . The Daily Mail . Retrieved 29 August 2014 .
  20. Jump up^ Hochswender, Woody (12 November 1989). “The Ultimate Marketplace – The Models and the Glamor Trade” . The New York Times . Retrieved 23 July 2014 .
  21. Jump up^ Sajbel, Maureen (4 April 1993). “Style: Spring Beauty: The Latest on Looks: Making Waifs” . Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  22. Jump up^ The Times, 2 November 2006
  23. Jump up^ Sasha Frere-Jones,The New Yorker, 10 December 2007
  24. Jump up^ AN Wilson (2006)Betjeman