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[shat-l-eyn; French shahtuh-len] /ˈʃæt lˌeɪn; French ʃɑtəˈlɛn/
noun, plural chatelaines
[shat-l-eynz; French shahtuh-len] /ˈʃæt lˌeɪnz; French ʃɑtəˈlɛn/ (Show IPA)
the mistress of a castle.
the mistress of an elegant or fashionable household.
a hooklike clasp or a chain for suspending keys, trinkets, scissors, a watch, etc., worn at the waist by women.
a woman's lapel ornament resembling this.
Origin of chatelaine
From the French word châtelaine, dating back to 1835-45. See chatelain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for chatelaine
Historical Examples
  • What a chatelaine she would make, he had thought; how the simple rustic folk would worship her!

    His Grace of Osmonde Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • And there he left him to await the coming of the chatelaine.

  • Seals, however, together with the chatelaine and the rest of its accompaniments, will be spoken of later.

    Jewellery H. Clifford Smith,
  • Rhodes never could think of her as the chatelaine of those wide ranges.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • There was no stationery in the desk, but Mary had a pocket diary in her chatelaine bag.

    A Woman for Mayor Helen M. Winslow
  • He was still in a fog, but he saw a ray of hope; this was the chatelaine, it seemed.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • The chatelaine frowned at Anselm when she heard his footsteps, and, turning, saw him robing by the door.

    The Serf Guy Thorne
  • But his hand moved and he found Miss Lymans chatelaine as she bent over him.

    Atlantic Narratives Mary Antin
  • But before I begin to describe Vissarion I shall throw a sop to you as a chatelaine; that may give you patience to read the rest.

  • Her imagination was caught by the sudden vision of herself as the chatelaine of a villa.

    Command William McFee
British Dictionary definitions for chatelaine


/ˈʃætəˌleɪn; French ʃɑtlɛn/
(esp formerly) the mistress of a castle or fashionable household
a chain or clasp worn at the waist by women in the 16th to the 19th centuries, with handkerchief, keys, etc, attached
a decorative pendant worn on the lapel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chatelaine

1845, from French châtelaine "a female castellan; wife of a castellan; mistress of a castle or country house;" fem. of châtelain, from Old French chastelain "owner and lord of a castle, castellan, nobleman," from chastel (see chateau). In fashion, as a type of ornamental belt, from 1851; supposed to resemble a chain of keys.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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