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 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, "Ten Things We’ve Learned About Britain’s Monarchs in the Past Ten Years," 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,, "Harvard Film Archive floats some boats with 2019 overnight movie marathon," 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, "Is This the Childhood Home of Lady Jane Grey, England’s Nine-Day Queen?," 3 July 2019 King Henry VIII, accompanied by his sister Margaret, Queen dowager of Scotland, Anne Boleyn and the royal court visit the village of Revel Grove as part of their annual summer progress and the village's Harvest Festival. Denisa Protani,, "Enter for a chance to win tickets for two to time travel to the Maryland Renaissance Festival," 24 June 2019 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, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 The Congers were eager to improve US–China relations after the damage caused by the anti-foreign Boxer Uprising of 1900, which the empress dowager had supported. Emiko Usui, The New York Review of Books, "Mothers of the State," 10 Feb. 2019 Sir Michael Kadoorie, the charismatic elder statesman, heir, visionary of today's Peninsula Hotels—and storied car collector himself—sketched out the Quail, now in its 16th year, as a tonic to the storied, more formal dowager, the Concours. Alex Hitz, Town & Country, "The Quail Is the Highlight of Monterey Car Week," 6 Sep. 2018 The Chalk Garden Revival of Enid Bagnold’s comedy about a British dowager who hires a mysterious woman as a gardener and governess. Matt Cooper,, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' and more," 22 June 2018

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

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The first known use of dowager was in 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Dowager.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce dowager (audio)

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

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