A debutante (UK /ˌdɛbjuːˈtɑːnt/, /ˌdeɪbjuːˈtɑːnt/) or deb (from the French débutante, "female beginner") is a girl or young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity and, as a new adult, comes out into society at a formal "debut". Originally, the term meant the young woman was now old enough to be married, and part of the purpose of her coming out was to display her to eligible bachelors and their families with a view to marriage within a select circle.
In the United Kingdom, until the 1950s the formal "debut" took the form of a presentation of the season's debutantes to the reigning monarch, and traditionally those presented at court were the daughters of the debutantes of a previous generation. In the present day, debutantes may be sponsored by an established member of the upper class or approved by a distinguished committee.
Debut presentations vary by regional culture and may be described as "debutante balls," "cotillion balls", or "coming-out" parties. In the United States there is a male equivalent, referred to as "beautillion ball." A lone debutante might have her own debut, or she might share it with a sister or other close relative. Modern debutante balls are often charitable events: the parents of the debutante donate money to the designated cause, and the invited guests pay for their tickets. These balls may be elaborate formal affairs and involve not only "debs" but junior debutantes, escorts, and ushers, flower girls, and pages as well....LESS