Definition of chatelaine in English:



  • 1dated A woman in charge of a large house.

    • ‘This is an event in the spirit of the teas once held by Martha Black when she was the chatelaine of the house and her husband was the Commissioner.’
    • ‘But times have changed and the chatelaine, Lucinda Shaw Stewart, has diversified into other businesses, like so many other members of the landed gentry.’
    • ‘Anyone who has visited the house in recent years can't fail to have been impressed by its garden and its chatelaine, Marylyn Abbott.’
    • ‘A large oil painting of the chatelaine hangs in the dining room, overlooking a lavishly laid table.’
    • ‘The chatelaine waited patiently and loyally for him to return and take possession of her gift.’
    1. 1.1historical A set of short chains attached to a woman's belt, used for carrying keys or other items.
      • ‘He could tell Emily was restive, eager to belt on her chatelaine's keys and rush off to primp the cushions.’
      • ‘Valerian pulled her brown and green prayer beads from her chatelaine chain, bringing them to her lips.’
      • ‘A good example is the typical late eighteenth-century verge watch attached to a nineteenth-century chatelaine.’


Mid 19th century from French châtelaine, feminine of châtelain ‘castellan’, from medieval Latin castellanus (see chatelain).