dow·​a·​ger | \ ˈdau̇-i-jər How to pronounce dowager (audio) \

Definition of dowager

1 : a widow holding property or a title from her deceased husband
2 : a dignified elderly woman

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Examples of dowager in a Sentence

The estate is owned by a wealthy dowager. the town's dowagers frequently shake their heads over the younger generation
Recent Examples on the Web The podcast, which at five years old is practically a dowager of the medium, is not interested in breaking tabloid news. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 The dowager of the White Mountains, the Omni Mount Washington Resort was built in 1902, the last of the 22 grand hotels that were built in the White Mountains. Everett Potter, Forbes, 11 Apr. 2021 Another passenger, the dowager Lady Brabourne, died the next day. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, 9 Apr. 2021 The guests at the wedding—the dowager, the twins, a procession. Sarah Mower, Vogue, 6 Oct. 2020 After her son died in 1875, the dowager empress consolidated power by breaking with succession tradition to adopt her three-year-old nephew, who was also too young to rule. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Feb. 2020 Given the simple nature of the dowager queen’s later years, the fact that her funeral was a modest event isn’t wholly surprising. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Mar. 2015 Each marathon consists of half a dozen movies with some common theme: boxing, vampires, trains, heists, noirishness, Joan Crawford in dowager-empress mode. Mark Feeney,, 22 Aug. 2019 But her time with the dowager queen was brief: Katherine died in childbirth in September 1548, and her husband, clouded by accusations of impropriety and treasonous intentions, was executed less than a year later. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, 3 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dowager.' 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 dowager

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dowager

Middle French douagiere, from douage dower, from douer to endow — more at endow

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Time Traveler for dowager

Time Traveler

The first known use of dowager was in 1530

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Dictionary Entries Near dowager





dowager's hump



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Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dowager.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for dowager



English Language Learners Definition of dowager

: a woman who has inherited property or a title from her dead husband
: an old woman who is very formal or serious

More from Merriam-Webster on dowager

Nglish: Translation of dowager for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dowager for Arabic Speakers


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