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dowager

[dou-uh-jer] /ˈdaʊ ə dʒər/
noun
1.
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.
2.
an elderly woman of stately dignity, especially one of elevated social position:
a wealthy dowager.
adjective
3.
noting, pertaining to, or characteristic of a dowager:
the dowager duchess; to prefer a dowager style of dress.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; < Middle French douag(i)ere, equivalent to douage dower (see endow, -age) + -iere, feminine of -ier -ier2
Related forms
dowagerism, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for dowagerism

dowager

/ˈdaʊədʒə/
noun
1.
  1. a widow possessing property or a title obtained from her husband
  2. (as modifier): the dowager duchess
2.
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
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Word Origin and History for dowagerism

dowager

n.

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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