the main character in a fairy tale called Cinderella. Cinderella is a beautiful young woman who is treated like a servant by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. When Prince Charming invites all the young women to a ball (=a large formal party where people dance), Cinderella cannot go because she has only old torn clothes. Then her fairy godmother appears and magically changes six white mice into horses and a pumpkin (=a large, round, yellow vegetable) into a carriage to take her to the ball. She then magically changes Cinderella's old clothes into a beautiful dress and gives her a pair of glass slippers (=shoes). Cinderella goes to the ball, but her fairy godmother tells her that she must come home before midnight, when the magic will stop working. At the ball the Prince falls in love with her. At midnight she runs away, but she loses one of her glass slippers. The Prince finds the slipper and then makes every unmarried woman in the country try it on. Cinderella puts on the slipper and marries the prince. ➔ Ugly Sisters, The
a person or thing that has been ignored or treated as less important than other people or things
• Their economy was the Cinderella of the industrialized world.
—Cinderella adjective [only before noun]
• Mental health care has been the Cinderella service for too long.