• noun a debutante; a young girl being introduced into the social season. Although principally identified with an upper-class London milieu, the adoption of débutante, french for ‘beginner’, may have occurred in the USA in the first decade of the 20th century.
  • noun a female member of a street gang. A term used in the 1960s, usually in the plural, probably originating in ‘debutante’, perhaps reinforced by the prevalence of the Christian name Deborah or Debbie. ‘Deb’ resurfaced in the gang argot of Los Angeles in the 1980s.