droit du seigneur


droit du sei·​gneur drwä-dᵫ-se-ˈnʸœr How to pronounce droit du seigneur (audio)
: a supposed legal or customary right of a feudal lord to have sexual relations with a vassal's bride on her wedding night

Examples of droit du seigneur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Does the terrible suffering visited upon the Jewish people by Nazi Germany invest them with the rights of the martyred and grant them a kind of moral droit du seigneur? Jordan Castro, Harper's Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 Andrew Bevel’s motivation for publishing a memoir goes beyond that reflexive droit du seigneur Ida describes. Jonathan Dee, Harper's Magazine, 11 May 2022 The Count has recently abolished the feudal droit du seigneur, the legendary right of the master of an estate to sleep with his female servants on their wedding night. Matthew Aucoin, The Atlantic, 23 Nov. 2021 Fairfield refers to the company’s conduct as the online version of droit du seigneur. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 8 Mar. 2021 The sketches were about domestic violence, dieting, droit du seigneur, the female orgasm, and other matters. Emma Thompson, Vogue, 10 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'droit du seigneur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, right of the lord

First Known Use

1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of droit du seigneur was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near droit du seigneur

Cite this Entry

“Droit du seigneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/droit%20du%20seigneur. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on droit du seigneur

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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