Definitions

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

  • n. The wife or widow of a duke.
  • n. A woman holding title to a duchy in her own right.
  • n. Used as the title for such a noblewoman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The female spouse or widow of a duke.
  • n. The female ruler of a duchy (where women can reign).
  • v. to court or curry favour for political or business advantage; to flatter obsequiously.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The wife or widow of a duke; also, a lady who has the sovereignty of a duchy in her own right.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The consort or widow of a duke, or a woman who holds the sovereignty or titles of a duchy.
  • n. A variety of roofing-slate two feet long and one foot wide.
  • n. A part of ladies' head-dress in the seventeenth century, apparently a knot of ribbon.

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

  • n. the wife of a duke or a woman holding ducal title in her own right

Etymologies

Middle English duchesse, from Old French, from Medieval Latin ducissa, from Latin dux, duc-, leader; see duke.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Someone once said that the prospect of having sex with a duchess is more alluring than the prospect of having sex with a chamber maid.

    Islam and imagination « Anglican Samizdat

  • And there is Anne of Cleves, a duchess from a far-away country who cannot even speak the language in her new homeland.

    The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory: Questions

  • While a footman was absorbing the attention of the coachman by giving him some minute, unnecessary orders, Madame (as they called the duchess) slipped out of the carriage door with one of her ladies, while two others, who were standing ready in the darkness, took their places.

    France in the Nineteenth Century

  • Teddy-bear that the matter had to be adjusted by distracting his attention in the direction of some drilling soldiers, while Wally concealed the toy under the embroidered rug which protected the plump legs of the "duchess" -- who submitted with delighted gurgles to being tickled under the chin.

    Captain Jim

  • By the end the "poor little person" – as Diana Mitford called the duchess – far from being vindicated, is shown as stupid and venal, the moment of glamour in the 1930s just that, a chance whereby she caught the light of history.

    Behind Closed Doors: The Tragic, Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor by Hugo Vickers - review

  • Associated Press Sarah Burton The dress worn by royal bride Kate Middleton, now known as the duchess of Cambridge, was designed by Sarah Burton , creative director of Alexander McQueen, which is owned by France's PPR SA.

    Gown Is a Boost for Fashion House

  • The duchess has been the face of Weight Watchers for almost a decade now.

    CNN Transcript Sep 21, 2006

  • JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Even though Camilla is now technically, she is the princess of Wales, out of respect for Diana, she ` ll be known as the duchess of Cornwall.

    CNN Transcript Apr 12, 2005

  • The duchess was the bosom friend of Lady Laura Kennedy, who was in love with Phineas Finn.

    Phineas Redux

  • “I daresay Jane — the duchess, that is — will invite me for dinner tonight,” he said.

    No Man's Mistress

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