Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Word of the Day 6/23/2010

Chatelaine (noun)
1a : the wife of a castellan : the mistress of a château*
1b : the mistress of a household or of a large establishment
2 : a clasp or hook for a watch, purse, or bunch of keys

Example Sentence: "Leah sets aside her artistic career to become the perfect Swiss wife, mother and chatelaine of a massive estate." (Publisher’s Weekly, September 22, 2008)

Did you know?: The original chatelaine's domain was a castle or fort, and the chatelaine's duties were many. To complete them, she certainly needed keys. In the 18th century, the word "chatelaine" (borrowed from the French "châtelaine") took on an additional meaning in English that alluded to this: the word came to be used for a decorative clasp or hook from which chains holding a watch, purse, keys, etc. were suspended. These popular accessories evoked the bunch of keys the original chatelaine had worn of necessity.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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