Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A widow who holds a title or property derived from her deceased husband.
  • n. An elderly woman of high social station.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A widow holding property or title derived from her late husband.
  • n. Any lady of dignified bearing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A widow endowed, or having a jointure; a widow who either enjoys a dower from her deceased husband, or has property of her own brought by her to her husband on marriage, and settled on her after his decease.
  • n. A title given in England to a widow, to distinguish her from the wife of her husband's heir bearing the same name; -- chiefly applied to widows of personages of rank.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In law, a widow endowed or possessed of a jointure.
  • n. A title given to a widow to distinguish her from the wife of her husband's heir bearing the same name: applied particularly to the widows of princes and persons of rank.

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

  • n. a widow holding property received from her deceased husband

Etymologies

Obsolete French douagière, from douage, dower, from douer, to endow, from Latin dōtāre, from dōs, dōt-, dowry; see dō- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)

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