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[duhch-is] /ˈdʌtʃ ɪs/
the wife or widow of a duke.
a woman who holds in her own right the sovereignty or titles of a duchy.
Origin of duchess
1300-50; Middle English duchesse < Anglo-French, Old French, feminine derivative of duc duke; see -ess
Related forms
duchesslike, adjective
Usage note
See -ess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for duchess
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His aunt, the duchess of Savoy, is a merry dame, and a wise!

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Then of course you would have no objection to my visiting a duchess in the small-pox?

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Pray, are you at all acquainted, Mrs. Wynne, with the duchess of A——?

  • I could introduce you to a duchess, but then the fee is high.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • It is very fine to be a Freeland woman--but, believe me, it is much finer to be a duchess.

    Freeland Theodor Hertzka
British Dictionary definitions for duchess


the wife or widow of a duke
a woman who holds the rank of duke in her own right
verb (transitive)
(Austral, informal) to overwhelm with flattering attention
Word Origin
C14: from Old French duchesse, feminine of ducduke
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 duchess

c.1300, from Old French duchesse, from Late Latin or Medieval Latin ducissa, fem. of dux (see duke (n.)). Often spelled dutchess until early 19c. (e.g. Dutchess County, New York, U.S.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for duchess



A female member of a street gang (1950s+ Street gang)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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