Definition: a female singer
It’s simple French – “chanter” is “to sing” and “-euse” is the feminine suffix.
In many definitions its specifically stated to mean a “concert” singer or a “nightclub” singer. I think it generally refers to a female singer that is not part of a group or a background singer – so, a singer who is the “main event,” so to speak,
Why I Looked It Up
In a review about a Celine Dion movie:
The wonderfully wacky, openly adoring movie is perhaps the only possible way to tell Dion’s story, vibrating on the same wavelength as the famously weird French Canadian chanteuse.
I’m not sure if they used the word here because she’s French Canadian?
The definition from Merriam-Webster had samples of the word used for other singers:
The jazz-pop chanteuse hits the holidays for the first time in her nearly 20-year recording career, penning six of her own Yuletide tunes alongside classics by Irving Berlin, Vince Guaraldi, Frank Loesser and others.
The legendary chanteuse is kicking off 2022 with a performance on The Masked Singer’s first float in the Rose Parade.
I was watching Gentleman Prefer Blondes from 1953, and the two main characters are showgirls who perform in France as “Les Chanteuse Americans.”