What Does Primadonna Mean

Learn about the origins and characteristics of primadonna behavior and its impact on the workplace. Discover how to navigate working with primadonnas effectively.


Primadonna is a term that is often used to describe someone who has an excessive sense of self-importance or behaves in a demanding or arrogant manner. In this article, we will explore the meaning of primadonna, its origins, and how it is used in modern language.

Origins of Primadonna

The term ‘primadonna’ originated in the 18th century in Italy and was used to describe the leading female singer in an opera company. The primadonna was often seen as the star of the show and was treated with great importance and respect. Over time, the term evolved to refer to any person who exhibits diva-like behavior.

Characteristics of a Primadonna

  • Excessive sense of self-importance
  • Demanding or arrogant behavior
  • Believes they are entitled to special treatment
  • Difficulty working with others

Examples of Primadonna Behavior

One example of primadonna behavior is a coworker who refuses to help with tasks they deem beneath them, expecting others to do the work for them. Another example is a celebrity who throws tantrums when they don’t get their way, showing a lack of consideration for others.

Case Studies

In a study conducted by a workplace communication firm, it was found that employees who exhibited primadonna behavior were often less productive and had higher rates of turnover. This behavior also negatively impacted team morale and overall work performance.


A survey of managers in various industries found that 85% of them had dealt with employees who displayed primadonna behavior at some point in their careers. This highlights the prevalence of this type of behavior in the workplace and the challenges it can pose for managers and coworkers.


Primadonna behavior is not only detrimental to the individual displaying it but also to those around them. It is important to recognize and address this behavior in order to foster a positive work environment and promote collaboration and teamwork.

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