Definition of chatelaine in English:



  • 1A woman in charge of a large house.

    • ‘Anyone who has visited the house in recent years can't fail to have been impressed by its garden and its chatelaine, Marylyn Abbott.’
    • ‘A large oil painting of the chatelaine hangs in the dining room, overlooking a lavishly laid table.’
    • ‘The chatelaine waited patiently and loyally for him to return and take possession of her gift.’
    • ‘But times have changed and the chatelaine, Lucinda Shaw Stewart, has diversified into other businesses, like so many other members of the landed gentry.’
    • ‘This is an event in the spirit of the teas once held by Martha Black when she was the chatelaine of the house and her husband was the Commissioner.’
    1. 1.1historical A set of short chains attached to a woman's belt, used for carrying keys or other items.
      • ‘Valerian pulled her brown and green prayer beads from her chatelaine chain, bringing them to her lips.’
      • ‘A good example is the typical late eighteenth-century verge watch attached to a nineteenth-century chatelaine.’
      • ‘He could tell Emily was restive, eager to belt on her chatelaine's keys and rush off to primp the cushions.’


Mid 19th century: from French châtelaine, feminine of châtelain ‘castellan’, from medieval Latin castellanus (see chatelain).