chatelaine

noun
chat·e·laine | \ˈsha-tə-ˌlān \

Definition of chatelaine 

1a : the wife of a castellan : the mistress of a château

b : the mistress of a household or of a large establishment

2 : a clasp or hook for a watch, purse, or bunch of keys

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The original chatelaine's domain was a castle or fort, and the chatelaine's duties were many. To complete them, she certainly needed keys. In the 18th century, the word chatelaine (borrowed from the French châtelaine) took on an additional meaning in English that alluded to this: the word came to be used for a decorative clasp or hook from which chains holding a watch, purse, keys, etc. were suspended. These popular accessories evoked the bunch of keys the original chatelaine had worn of necessity.

Examples of chatelaine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Tina Plesset of East Hampton donated a 1967 chatelaine owned by her mother. Warren Strugatch, New York Times, "The Leibers Are Gone. But Their Bling Is Back.," 25 May 2018 Vanderbilt needed a chatelaine, and Edith needed financial security. Stuart Ferguson, WSJ, "A Carolina Xanadu," 29 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chatelaine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of chatelaine

1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for chatelaine

French châtelaine, feminine of châtelain

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chatelaine

Share chatelaine

Listen to Our Podcast about chatelaine

Statistics for chatelaine

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chatelaine

The first known use of chatelaine was in 1845

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on chatelaine

See words that rhyme with chatelaine

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chatelaine

Comments on chatelaine

What made you want to look up chatelaine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!