ab·​bess | \ ˈa-bəs How to pronounce abbess (audio) \

Definition of abbess

: a woman who is the superior of a convent of nuns

Examples of abbess in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Einhorn, who did extensive research on Joan’s life including visiting historical sites in France, chose texts from another medieval composer, the abbess Hildegard of Bingen, and other female mystics, as well as Joan’s own words from her trial., "Joan of Arc's story gains a new dimension in film/concert pairing," 21 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abbess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of abbess

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abbess

Middle English abbesse, borrowed from Anglo-French abbesse, abeiesse, borrowed from Late Latin abbātissa, feminine derivative of abbāt-, abbās abbot

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The first known use of abbess was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of abbess

: a woman who is the head of a convent


ab·​bess | \ ˈa-bəs How to pronounce abbess (audio) \

Kids Definition of abbess

: the head of an abbey for women

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More from Merriam-Webster on abbess

Spanish Central: Translation of abbess

Nglish: Translation of abbess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abbess for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about abbess

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