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

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 Violet is a type Fellowes knows well, but even though some of his other characters—like Christine Baranski's Agnes van Rhijn on The Gilded Age—have some similarities, he's told T&C that Downton's dowager stands alone. Elizabeth Holmes, Town & Country, 29 May 2022 Smith has portrayed the dowager countess, Violet Crawley, a character who has become best known for her devastating zingers and obsession with maintaining tradition at Downton. Eliana Dockterman, Time, 20 May 2022 Until February 1952, the dowager queen outranked her granddaughter. Los Angeles Times, 4 Feb. 2022 Even Maggie Smith's dowager countess would have good things to say about them. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, 22 Jan. 2022 Sigourney Weaver stars as the estate’s wealthy dowager, Mrs. Haverhill. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 2 Nov. 2021 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 Princess Bibesco, widow of Romanian industrialist Prince George Valentin Bibesco and dowager of the Enchanted Isle, had accorded me a rendezvous at her home on the western tip of the island. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, 17 Apr. 2019 See More

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.

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

Learn More About dowager

Time Traveler for dowager

Time Traveler

The first known use of dowager was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near dowager



dowager's hump

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for dowager

Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dowager.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on dowager

Nglish: Translation of dowager for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dowager for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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