Definition of duchess in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdʌtʃəs/


1The wife or widow of a duke.
Example sentences
  • There are the kings and queens, princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, and barons.
  • The duchess, a widow, is forbidden to marry again by her brothers Duke Ferdinand and the cardinal because they want to control her wealth.
  • None of the dogs belonging to either the duke and duchess or the earl and countess ever barked.
1.1A woman holding a rank equivalent to duke in her own right.
Example sentences
  • Sarah strolled into the Blue Salon, an elegant parlor in the east wing of the house, and found the duchess in conversation with Lady Rhianna.
  • She rose in rank from fair maiden to fair lady and then to duchess.
  • A lady below the rank of duchess was likely to be rusticated from the court if she sat upon a cushioned stool in the royal chapel or, if in the presence of the King, anywhere else.
1.2British informal (Especially among cockneys) an affectionate form of address used by a man to a girl or woman: ‘Spotted a likely one, duchess?’


Late Middle English: via Old French from medieval Latin ducissa, from Latin dux, duc- (see duke).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: duch|ess

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