[doi-en; French dwa-yen]

noun, plural doy·ennes [doi-enz; French dwa-yen] /dɔɪˈɛnz; French dwaˈyɛn/.

a woman who is the senior member, as in age or rank, of a group, class, profession, etc.

Origin of doyenne

1900–05; < French, feminine of doyen doyen

Usage note

See -enne. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for doyenne

Contemporary Examples of doyenne

  • As eight of her novels are republished, we salute a doyenne of literary fiction whose work juxtaposes tragedy and comedy.

  • As Democratic doyenne Pamela Harriman once put it, "he's not entirely housebroken."

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Dominant Diplomatic Force

    Peter Beinart

    December 14, 2010

  • This presents both a new work and pieces chosen from her 40-year career as the doyenne of performance art.

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    Marina Abramovic's Full-Frontal Art

    Anthony Haden-Guest

    March 18, 2010

  • Not in 2005, when his mother, once the doyenne of Park Avenue, could by nearly all accounts no longer even remember his name.

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    I Was an Astor Trial Juror

    Philip Bump

    October 9, 2009

  • This week, Liz Smith, the doyenne of gossip columnists, was fired after more than 30 years of writing for New York newspapers.

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    Long Live the Queen!

    Lloyd Grove

    February 25, 2009

Historical Examples of doyenne

Word Origin and History for doyenne

1905, from fem. of French doyen (see doyen). As a type of pear, from 1731.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper