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From Middle English dosse per, from Old French doze pers, douze pers (twelve peers). Fell out of use in the 17th century, but revived in the 19th.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈduːzpɪə/, /duːzˈpɪə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈduzpɪɹ/, /duzˈpɪɹ/
  • (General New Zealand) IPA(key): /ˈdʉːzpiə/, /dʉːzˈpiə/
  • (file)


douzeper (plural douzepers) (rare)

  1. (historical) One of the "twelve peers" of Charlemagne, later associated with the twelve greatest peers of France (namely the archbishop of Rheims, the bishops of Laon, Langres, Beauvais, Chalons and Noyon, the dukes of Normandy, Burgundy and Aquitaine, and the counts of Toulouse, Flanders and Champagne).
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.10:
      Big looking, like a doughty Doucepere, / At last he thus; ‘Thou clod of vilest clay, / I pardon yield […]’.
    • 1967, J. Burke Seyers, A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500[1], page 95:
      Roland defiantly accepts the post of danger; the douzepers and other knights join him. Ganelon leads the van of the army as it starts again toward France. The Saracens prepare for battle.
    • 1980, D A Pearsall, The Floure and the Leafe and the Assembly of Ladies (notes)[2], page 149:
      The knights of the Round Table and the douzepers were closely associated by virtue of the juxtaposition of Arthur and Charlemagne in the Nine Worthies.
  2. Any individual considered to be like or in the model of Charlemagne's peers; someone considered as a great hero or paladin.
    • 1967, William Manchester, The Death Of A President[3], page 26:
      Down the Grand Staircase the military aides marched in a glittering rank behind the Commander in Chief, Ted on the right, God front and center, Taz on the left. Approaching the bottom, valor suddenly vanished; they fled like fugitives. It was time for photographs, and douzepers mustn't appear to be publicity hogs.
    • 2012, William Matthews, The Tragedy of Arthur[4], University of California Press, page 68:
      And to him are devoted a surprisingly large number of separate works which describe his life and career, his code of conduct as a ruler, or the adventures of his douzepers: three alliterative poems which survive only incompletely, Alexander (A), Alexander and Dindimus (B), and The Wars of Alexander (C); a long poem in couplets called Kyng Alisaundre []
    • 2017 February 7, Ellery Queen, The Finishing Stroke[5], page 121:
      In fact, come to think of it, you're also a douzeper.” “I'm a what?” Payn gasped. “ Douzeper,” Ellery assured him. “The douzepers were the twelve paladins of Charlemagne. Surely you can't have forgotten the most famous paladin of them all?