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A dowager is a widow who holds a title or property—a "dower"—derived from her deceased husband.[1] As an adjective, "dowager" usually appears in association with monarchical and aristocratic titles.

In popular usage, the noun "dowager" may refer to any elderly widow, especially one of both wealth and dignity.


In the United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the widow of a peer may continue to use the style she had during her husband's lifetime, e.g. "Countess of Loamshire", provided that his successor, if any, has no wife to bear the plain title. Otherwise she more properly prefixes either her forename or the word Dowager, e.g. "Jane, Countess of Loamshire" or "Dowager Countess of Loamshire" (In any case she would continue to be called "Lady Loamshire").

The term Dowager Queen is used in the United Kingdom and several other countries for the widow of a King.