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

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 In the last decade of her life, the empress dowager tried to polish her image by making herself more accessible, especially to Western diplomats. New York Times, "Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer?," 10 July 2018 In 1943, at the opening of the Metropolitan Opera, Weegee photographed two dowagers in white furs and jewels smiling grimly at the camera, while on the darkened sideline a woman in a dirty coat and stole assesses them. Sarah Boxer, New York Times, "Weegee the Famous: The Master of Down-and-Dirty Street Photography," 1 June 2018 Willetta Street is an oasis populated by affluent hipsters, longtime legacy residents and the occupants of a large, pink dowager apartment building. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Why downtown Phoenix's problem with transients defies easy answers," 7 Apr. 2018 Who would have thought musty old Fenway Park, the 105-year-old dowager of the Back Bay, would be a battleground for technological espionage? Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "The Ancient Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry Gets a High-Tech Boost," 5 Sep. 2017 Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty supply new songs for a cast including Christy Altomare as the possible duchess, Mary Beth Peil as a dowager empress and Ramin Karimloo as the baddie. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "What’s New in NYC Theater," 20 Apr. 2017

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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Dictionary Entries near dowager





dowager's hump



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Time Traveler for dowager

The first known use of dowager was in 1530

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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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Comments on dowager

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behavior toward others

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