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dowager

[dou-uh-jer]
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noun
  1. a woman who holds some title or property from her deceased husband, especially the widow of a king, duke, etc. (often used as an additional title to differentiate her from the wife of the present king, duke, etc.): a queen dowager; an empress dowager.
  2. an elderly woman of stately dignity, especially one of elevated social position: a wealthy dowager.
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adjective
  1. noting, pertaining to, or characteristic of a dowager: the dowager duchess; to prefer a dowager style of dress.
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Origin of dowager

1520–30; < Middle French douag(i)ere, equivalent to douage dower (see endow, -age) + -iere, feminine of -ier -ier2
Related formsdow·a·ger·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for dowager

dowager

noun
    1. a widow possessing property or a title obtained from her husband
    2. (as modifier)the dowager duchess
  1. a wealthy or dignified elderly woman
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French douagiere, from douage dower
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

Word Origin and History for dowager

n.

1520s, from Middle French douagere "widow with a dower" literally "pertaining to a dower," from douage "dower," from douer "endow," from Latin dotare, from dos (genitive dotis) "dowry" (see dowry).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper