Word of the Day: Doyenne

doyenne

doy-enne / doi-ĕn, dwä-yĕn

 

noun

1. a woman who is the senior member of a group

As Countess Karolyi doesn’t come, I am the Doyenne, and shall have to go in first, led by Sir Francis Seymour.

From “Letters of a Diplomat’s Wife 1883 – 1900” by Mary Alsop King Waddington, 1833 – 1923

 

etymology

The feminine form of the French masculine noun doyen (a dean, the senior member of a group) from the Old French noun deien (a commander of ten), which is derived from the Late Latin masculine noun decanus, decani (the head of ten monks, the commander of ten soldiers). Decanus came into Late Latin from the Greek masculine noun dekanos, dekanou, a translation of the classical Latin masculine noun decurio, decurionis (commander of ten cavalrymen, head of a group of ten council members).

Thank you to Allen Ward for providing they etymology of doyenne.