- (in Spain and Portugal) an older woman serving as escort or chaperon of a young lady.
- a governess.
Origin of duenna
Examples from the Web for duenna
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
- (in Spain and Portugal, etc) an elderly woman retained by a family to act as governess and chaperon to young girls
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).