9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dou-uh-jer] /ˈdaʊ ə dʒər/
a woman who holds some title or property from her deceased husband, especially the widow of a king, duke, etc. (often used as an additional title to differentiate her from the wife of the present king, duke, etc.):
a queen dowager; an empress dowager.
an elderly woman of stately dignity, especially one of elevated social position:
a wealthy dowager.
noting, pertaining to, or characteristic of a dowager:
the dowager duchess; to prefer a dowager style of dress.
Origin of dowager
1520-30; < Middle French douag(i)ere, equivalent to douage dower (see endow, -age) + -iere, feminine of -ier -ier2
Related forms
dowagerism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dowager
  • The long, layered dowager necklaces of last fall are still holding strong, but taking on new incarnations.
  • Time for the dowager to hand over real powers to the frustrated princeling.
  • Or, in the case of its original guesthouses, the empress dowager.
  • Yellow silk was worn only by the emperor, empress, or empress dowager.
  • Left unattended, many fractures can result in an exaggerated rounded curvature of the spine, called kyphosis or dowager's hump.
  • Recipe for banishing dowager empresses- first catch your empress.
British Dictionary definitions for dowager


  1. a widow possessing property or a title obtained from her husband
  2. (as modifier): the dowager duchess
a wealthy or dignified elderly woman
Word Origin
C16: from Old French douagiere, from douagedower
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
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Word Origin and History for dowager

1520s, from Middle French douagere "widow with a dower" literally "pertaining to a dower," from douage "dower," from douer "endow," from Latin dotare, from dos (genitive dotis) "dowry" (see dowry).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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