Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The mistress of a castle.
  • n. The mistress of a large, fashionable household.
  • n. A clasp or chain worn at the waist for holding keys, a purse, or a watch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The mistress of a castle or large household.
  • n. A chain or clasp worn at the waist by women, with handkerchief, keys, etc., attached (supposed to resemble the chain of keys once worn by mediaeval chatelaines).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An ornamental hook, or brooch worn by a lady at her waist, and having a short chain or chains attached for a watch, keys, trinkets, etc. Also used adjectively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A female castellan; the lady of the castle or château. See chatelain.
  • n. A chain, or group of chains, worn by castellans, by which the keys of a castle were suspended from the girdle; hence, a similar modern device for suspending watch-keys, seals, trinkets, etc.; and so, by extension, the trinkets themselves.
  • Pertaining to or of the nature of a chatelaine: as, a chatelaine watch.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a chain formerly worn at the waist by women; for carrying a purse or bunch of keys etc.
  • n. the mistress of a chateau or large country house

Etymologies

French châtelaine, feminine of châtelain, chatelain, from Old French chastelain; see chatelain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French châtelaine. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He’d spent a good hour looking up the word chatelaine in the dictionary.

    Hearts

  • Carega, newly appointed chatelaine of Castle Vitre, had watched her through the Thenglass.

    GLASS HOUSES • by TW Williams

  • It was no wonder the chatelaine had instructed the child to withhold the flask save the three times.

    Healing the Highlander

  • Elizabeth, retired into domestic bliss as a mother and the chatelaine of Pemberley, has lost that crucial wit and spark -- that feistiness and sense of self -- that Austen gave her and which made us love her.

    Alan Elsner: The Mr. Darcy Industry

  • The lovers' sojourn in Matthew's ancestral chateau is well-done, and some of the supporting characters are marvelous, notably Matthew's mother, a vampire chatelaine.

    Books: 'A Discovery of Witches' by Deborah Harkness, reviewed by Elizabeth Hand

  • The cats woke us promptly at 6. * wince* Had an exciting morning of bill-paying and other chatelaine work and more Wiscon organization, then off to Star Trek!

    Sunday morning miscellany

  • Lady Agnes Holland, the new chatelaine of Eaton Place, sweeps through her life assuming that other people – aka the lower orders – are there entirely for her convenience.

    Upstairs, Downstairs and servant porn | Kathryn Hughes

  • La Musarderie had a new chatelaine in place of its castellan.

    A River So Long

  • There was a red Morocco leather box on the table, and when she opened it, she found a lady's chatelaine watch within, complete with neckchain.

    red dust

  • It is half a melancholy ruin, where the present chatelaine, Lady Egremont, has created an enchanting garden, and half a Georgian house, full of treasures.

    A seasonal lament

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Sophronia raised up her Depraved Lens of Crispy Magnification, a present on her fifteenth birthday from Dimity's brother, Pillover. It was essentially a high-powered monocle on a stick, but useful enough to keep at all times hanging from a chatelaine at her waist."
    Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, p 8

    January 28, 2014

  • Ah, yes. They played that song to death here when it first debuted. :-)

    December 5, 2007

  • "Just a kiss, just a kiss –
    I have lived for this.
    I can't explain
    why I've become
    Miss Chatelaine." – k.d. lang

    Nice Canadian reference on the part of Albertan k.d. lang: Chatelaine is the name of a Canadian women's magazine.

    December 5, 2007