Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a chaperon of a young lady, usually an older woman.
  • n. a governess or nanny.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The chief lady in waiting on the queen of Spain.
  • n. An elderly lady holding a station between a governess and companion, and appointed to have charge over the younger ladies in a Spanish or a Portuguese family.
  • n. Any old woman who is employed to guard a younger one; a governess.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The chief lady in waiting on the Queen of Spain.
  • n. An elderly woman holding a middle station between a governess and a companion, appointed to take charge of the girls of a Spanish family.
  • n. Any elderly woman who is employed to guard a younger; a governess; a chaperon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a woman chaperon

Etymologies

From Old Spanish duenna or dueña, from Vulgar Latin donna, from Latin domina ("Lady"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Glencora, Alice thought, should not have allowed the word duenna to have passed her lips in speaking to anyone; but, above all, she should not have done so in the hearing of Mr Palliser's cousin.

    Can You Forgive Her?

  • Glencora, Alice thought, should not have allowed the word duenna to have passed her lips in speaking to any one; but, above all, she should not have done so in the hearing of Mr Palliser's cousin.

    Can You Forgive Her?

  • Glencora, Alice thought, should not have allowed the word duenna to have passed her lips in speaking to anyone; but, above all, she should not have done so in the hearing of Mr Palliser’s cousin.

    Can you forgive her?

  • He planted his watchful mo - ther as a kind of duenna over her, when - ever he rode out to pay his complin: ients tQ the lord of Gravenegg, whofe vaffal he was.

    Popular tales of the Germans [selected from J.C.A. Musaeus] tr. [by W. Beckford].

  • "duenna" would be filled if she attempted to "look after" a bevy of typical American girls, with their independent -- yet confused -- ideas of social requirements in the matter of chaperonage.

    Etiquette

  • Like a duenna snapping open her fan – the car snapped open a pair of elegant wings and soared off into Adventure.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flies again

  • Smith was in many respects an absurd figure, but he created a great romantic legend by falling in love with a 14-year-old Spanish girl named Juana, whose duenna threw herself and her young charge on the Rifle Brigade's mercy amid the ruins of sacked Badajoz in 1812.

    Five Best War Memoirs

  • You will perhaps be surprised to learn that his choice of chaperone … duenna … and may I say, mother?

    The Red Queen

  • And The duenna transferred one hand to her bosom, drawing a painful breath.

    Gatlinburg

  • With this assurance, the duenna had allowed herself to be contented, and she had departed, sped on her way by Lady Hester's promise that a hot brick and a soothing drink would be sent up as soon as may be.

    Gatlinburg

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