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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.


[French dy-shes] /French düˈʃɛs/
noun, plural duchesses
[French dy-shes] /French düˈʃɛs/ (Show IPA).
French Furniture.
a daybed having a rounded, partially enclosed head and usually a similar foot, sometimes made in two or three pieces able to be used separately (duchesse brisée)
From French, dating back to 1785-95; See origin at duchess Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for duchesses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You all try and palm yourselves off for dukes and duchesses, travelling in disguise.

    Diary of a Pilgrimage Jerome K. Jerome
  • It's zoziety—the dukes and the duchesses—that ruins all the yong talents.'

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • And Barty would re‑sing it, as desired, and bring in the duchesses.

    The Martian George Du Maurier
  • Gloria went to see the princesses and duchesses, and found them at home.

  • What matters it to you, if kings and duchesses of Burgundy marry?

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • When ladies are going to be duchesses, things do come right; don't they?

    The Prime Minister

    Anthony Trollope
  • Jane, our housemaid, says it is called a "transformation," and that duchesses wear them.

    New Treasure Seekers

    E. (Edith) Nesbit
  • The duchesses will form a circle about these circular sheets of water.

    A Tour Through The Pyrenees Hippolyte Adolphe Taine
  • And he put into his manner the deference which he reserved for duchesses and talent.

    Thorley Weir

    E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson
British Dictionary definitions for duchesses


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


(Austral & NZ) a dressing table or chest of drawers with a mirror
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 duchesses



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 duchesses



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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