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

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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

Many of the women guests followed the white theme, but art maven Deedie Rose, chatelaine of the stupendous Rose House, wore vibrant pastels to match her art necklace (Rose had curated some artist jewels for the silent auction). Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "During a Weekend in Dallas, Hamish Bowles Takes in the City’s Vibrant Art Scene From its Public and Private Museums," 1 Nov. 2018 The pathways that trellised the fragrant herb garden outside the chatelaine’s bedroom and in the far-flung potager were made from bricks imported by the British, who used them as ballast for their ships. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Inside Tory Burch’s Lovingly Restored Antigua Getaway," 15 Aug. 2018 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.

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First Known Use of chatelaine

1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for chatelaine

French châtelaine, feminine of châtelain

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for chatelaine

The first known use of chatelaine was in 1845

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More from Merriam-Webster on chatelaine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chatelaine

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chatelaine

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