1. a woman, esp. when good-looking, even showy [the image of a duchess as an imposing figure].
|Dict. Canting Crew.|
|Girl Proposition 69: If he had a Duchess on his Staff he would lead her along the main-travelled Streets and show her off.|
|Benno and Some of the Push 77: Afore the fat Duchess ’d begun t’ pull the drinks Benno fell inter one iv them cold, dank, solemn spasms.‘On a Bender’ in|
|N.Z. Truth 28 Aug. 7/7: Seth [...] raised his roof to the duchess, and passed on.|
|New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 254: dutchess (n.): girl.|
|,||DAS 165/2: duchess n. 1. A girl; esp. a snobbish or aloof girl. 2. A girl who is in the know or who belongs to a jive or underworld group. 3. A female member of a street gang.|
|London Fields 77: The girls, they come around the whole time. [...] These pictures and visions, little duchesses, dazzlers and poules de luxe.|
2. an old woman.
|Hudibras Redivivus I:5 16: Next these, came a fore-leg’d Dutches, / Grunting and whining on her Crutches.|
|Life and Times of James Catnach 129: A surly old duchess, with one of her crutches, / Had floor’d a blindman for capsizing her ale.|
3. a prostitute.
|She Stoops to Conquer Act II: This stammer in my address [...] can never permit me to soar above the reach of a milliner’s ’prentice, or one of the duchesses of Drury-lane.|
4. a general term of address to a woman.
|Rogue’s Progress (1966) 77: ‘Duchess,’ said Hawthorne (he always called the lady ‘the duchess’), ‘have you tried a nosegay?’.|
|Deacon Brodie III tab.V ii: smith: No, Duchess, he has not good manners. jean: Ay, he’s an impident man.|
|Never Come Morning (1988) 77: Walk faster, Duchess [...] I got t’ get t’ bed some time.|
|Joyful Condemned 272: Hold your noise, Duchess.|
|The Same Old Grind 119: ‘You know, my duchess, that it never will [i.e. arrive]’.|
5. (Aus.) a procuress, a brothel-keeper.
|Truth (Sydney) 9 Dec. 7/3: Girls we know is frequent tempted, / Being weak, to go astray; / But they don't want no old Duchess / For to show / no girls the way.|
|Truth (Sydney) 10 July 1/2: For this piece of dirty work they / Gets paid five & twenty quid / From the Duchess keepin’ ’ouse.|
6. one’s mother.
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 119/2: Duchess (Peoples’). Mother – invariable title given between familiar friends when the mother of either is being asked after. ‘How’s the Duchess, Bob?’.|
7. a woman who is making money in films.
|L.A. Times 24 Mar. II 1/7: DUCHESS: A chorine with a fur coat or other evidence of material wealth. There are many Duchesses.|
8. an ageing, affected male homosexual.
|Queens’ Vernacular 69: duchess (pej) one who falsely assumes grand airs.|
|Maledicta III:2 222: Cinderella becomes Old Ella, the whining failure or whoring harridan, derisively hailed as madame, countess, duchess (if pissy, piss-elegant).|
|Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 226: The bitchiness often attributed to fags from tender chicken to grand-dame duchesses surfaced in Miss Thing.|
see Countess of Puddle-dock n.