[ doo-en-uh, dyoo- ]
/ duˈɛn ə, dyu- /


(in Spain and Portugal) an older woman serving as escort or chaperon of a young lady.
a governess.

Nearby words

  1. duecento,
  2. duel,
  3. duelist,
  4. duello,
  5. duende,
  6. duero,
  7. dues,
  8. dues-paying,
  9. duet,
  10. duetting

Origin of duenna

1660–70; < Spanish duenna (now dueña) < Latin domina, feminine of dominus master

Related formsdu·en·na·ship, noun

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

Examples from the Web for duenna

British Dictionary definitions for duenna


/ (djuːˈɛnə) /


(in Spain and Portugal, etc) an elderly woman retained by a family to act as governess and chaperon to young girls

Word Origin for duenna

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

Word Origin and History for duenna



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