Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

duenna

[doo-en-uh, dyoo-] /duˈɛn ə, dyu-/
noun
1.
(in Spain and Portugal) an older woman serving as escort or chaperon of a young lady.
2.
a governess.
Origin of duenna
1660-1670
1660-70; < Spanish duenna (now dueña) < Latin domina, feminine of dominus master
Related forms
duennaship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for duenna
Historical Examples
  • She felt that she had been rather remiss in her duties as duenna, and was angry with herself.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • It is to be observed the duenna was of a most obliging disposition.

    Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
  • Then the duenna resumed, and now came the worst of her story.

    The Story of Don Quixote

    Arvid Paulson, Clayton Edwards, and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • He told me that O'Brien had the duenna called to his room that morning.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • They must be torn away at once, or my character as duenna is lost for ever.'

    Shawl-Straps Louisa M. Alcott
  • The duenna entered, and remained standing before her master.

    The Pearl of Lima Jules Verne
  • She kept me in sight like a duenna, and strangely ill-treated me.

  • Mary's duenna;—the artist who is supposed to be moulding the wife.

    Orley Farm

    Anthony Trollope
  • That's her instituted governess, duenna, dragon, what you will.

  • The Sisters are the only duenna for you; and back to the convent you shall go to-morrow.

    Remember the Alamo Amelia E. Barr
British Dictionary definitions for duenna

duenna

/djuːˈɛnə/
noun
1.
(in Spain and Portugal, etc) an elderly woman retained by a family to act as governess and chaperon to young girls
Word Origin
C17: from Spanish dueña, from Latin domina lady, feminine of dominus master
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for duenna
n.

1660s, "chief lady in waiting upon the queen of Spain," also "an elderly woman in charge of girls from a Spanish family," from Spanish dueña "married lady, mistress" (fem. of dueño "master"), from Latin domina (see dame). Sense extended in English to "any elderly woman chaperon of a younger woman" (1708).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for duenna

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for duenna

7
10
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for duenna