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I've just come across the word 'damas', I intended to use the word in reference to a group of women but I see it also translates to 'checkers'?!

Does the word have different meanings depending on location? Where is the correlation between women and checkers?

15

Damas means "ladies" or "dames". It's a bit old-fashioned. You'll find it in the stock phrase "damas y caballeros" ("ladies and gentlemen"), but this kind of thing is on its way out. You'll also see damas as a label for bathrooms. You can often substitute señoras. Unlike señora(s), you cannot use dama(s) as a vocative (i.e. to call or address someone) by itself.

Damas is also the name of the game of checkers. Dama is also one of the names (besides reina) for the queen in the game of chess. The pieces of checkers were originally named in French fierges, the same as the chess queen (for Persian ferz "vizier"); when the queen changed its name to dame the checkers pieces took it as well.

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7

I would say that there are two posibilities. First of all, if you want to mean a group of women, I would say 'ladies'. Secondly, 'damas' is also a board game called checkers. The word has both meanings.

For more information, this is valid in Spain.

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