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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for duchesses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To high-born French women—princesses and duchesses—the revolt of the Fronde especially belonged.

    Political Women, Vol. 2 (of 2) Sutherland Menzies
  • And Barty would re‑sing it, as desired, and bring in the duchesses.

    The Martian George Du Maurier
  • Goodness gracious, I dont know her; actresses dont sit around with duchesses.

    The Girl From His Town Marie Van Vorst
  • Gloria went to see the princesses and duchesses, and found them at home.

  • It's zoziety—the dukes and the duchesses—that ruins all the yong talents.'

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • When ladies are going to be duchesses, things do come right; don't they?

    The Prime Minister Anthony Trollope
  • To be found dead among a heap of duchesses would be to her what to a soldier is death in the forefront of the battle.

    Mammon and Co. E. F. Benson
  • And he put into his manner the deference which he reserved for duchesses and talent.

    Thorley Weir E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson
  • Only queens and duchesses can afford to paint pictures or to write books, without loss of caste.

    An Ambitious Woman Edgar Fawcett
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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