[ 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 formsduch·ess·like, adjective

Usage note

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

Examples from the Web for duchess

British Dictionary definitions for duchess


/ (ˈdʌtʃɪs) /


the wife or widow of a duke
a woman who holds the rank of duke in her own right

verb (tr)

Australian informal to overwhelm with flattering attention

Word Origin for duchess

C14: from Old French duchesse, feminine of duc duke
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

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