Definition of duchess in English:



  • 1The wife or widow of a duke.

    • ‘The duchess, a widow, is forbidden to marry again by her brothers Duke Ferdinand and the cardinal because they want to control her wealth.’
    • ‘‘My father is a lord, Alex's mum is a duchess, and Brandon's father is an earl,’ Josh explained.’
    • ‘The mobsters discover that England is perfect for mob expansion, especially once they are offered help by some dukes and duchesses in need of money to hang on to their country estate.’
    • ‘Originally the arms of Burgundy and the initials of the duke and duchess were painted beneath the lower cornice.’
    • ‘The duke stood by the vehicle with his duchess beside him and took in the sight before him.’
    • ‘Well then, Lady Grace Jameison, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife, my partner, my duchess, and the mother of my children?’
    • ‘None of the dogs belonging to either the duke and duchess or the earl and countess ever barked.’
    • ‘At twenty-five, she was offered the editorship of Tatler, a London society rag teeming with duchesses in disastrous yellow satin and dampeyed earls on horseback.’
    • ‘The prince and his new duchess had invited representatives of their pet charities to share their special day.’
    • ‘Besides, the duke and the duchess still had much to discuss with each other.’
    • ‘The prince and the duchess arrived at Balmoral last night.’
    • ‘The duchess and countess would be there to help her.’
    • ‘His chief patrons were the Sidney family, the earl of Pembroke, the countess of Bedford, and the duke and duchess of Newcastle.’
    • ‘The guard was still there, watching the queen and the duchess stare at the duke.’
    • ‘Was she a daughter of a duke, was she a duchess herself?’
    • ‘How did this girl know to give half curtsies to princesses and duchesses upon introduction in an informal situation?’
    • ‘He gets over the duchess, takes up with another beauty after his wife dies, and becomes wealthier and more famous.’
    • ‘There are the kings and queens, princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, and barons.’
    • ‘In fact, one of the duchesses from the princess's court was my best friend.’
    • ‘Both my parents thought that having the title of grand duke and duchess were the most important things in the world and that my brother, my sister, and I should cherish our titles and our importance and our wealth.’
    1. 1.1 A woman holding a rank equivalent to duke in her own right.
      • ‘She rose in rank from fair maiden to fair lady and then to duchess.’
      • ‘The less gentlemanly ones settled for leering at the so-called future duchess and congratulating Rafe by slapping him on the back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The worrying thing is that the book is likely, rather, to be part of the duchess's journey of healing and renewal that she's been making over the past few years.’
      • ‘The grand duke or duchess, the ceremonial head of state, appoints the prime minister, who is responsible to a sixty-member Chamber of Deputies that is popularly elected every five years.’
      • ‘He then progressed through a variety of lovers including nuns, novices, duchesses, prostitutes, peasants and rich old ladies.’
      • ‘These words, taken from a special patent of 1644 granting Lady Alice the hollow title of duchess, effectively recognised Robert Dudley's legitimate birth seventy years after the fact.’
      • ‘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.’
      noblewoman, gentlewoman, countess, peeress, viscountess, baroness, dame, grand dame
      View synonyms
    2. 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).