Part of speech: noun
Origin: French, mid-19th century
A woman in charge of a large house.
A set of short chains attached to a woman's belt, used for carrying keys or other items.
Examples of Chatelaine in a sentence
"As chatelaine of the house, she was responsible for making sure all the gardening was done on schedule."
"I found an antique chatelaine and have been wearing it as a piece of jewelry."
Popularity Over Time
Chatelaine can describe either the housekeeper of a large home, or the dangle of useful objects carried around her waist. It comes from the French “châtelaine,” which is the feminine of châtelain. This word can be traced back to the Latin “castellanus,” which basically means keeper of the castle.
Did you Know?
Isn’t it a pain to dig through your bag for your keys? What if you don’t have pockets? Bring back the chatelaine. This is a set of chains worn around the waist, used for carrying keys, sewing items, watches — anything a good housekeeper might need throughout the day. Some were as decorative as a piece of jewelry, but they were all useful.