em·​press | \ ˈem-prəs How to pronounce empress (audio) \

Definition of empress

1 : the wife or widow of an emperor
2 : a woman who is the sovereign or supreme monarch of an empire

Examples of empress in a Sentence

the Emperor and Empress of Japan Catherine the Great was Empress of Russia.
Recent Examples on the Web Inevitably, the platform’s well-respected fashion empress, Eva Chen, went from being an industry phenom to a celeb in her own right, thanks to both her tastemaking power and her seriously adorable small children. Faran Krentcil, Harper's BAZAAR, "12 Ways Fashion Was Defined in the 2010s," 19 Dec. 2019 Despite Catherine’s parade of partners, the series is centered squarely on the romance between the empress and Potemkin, played by the Australian actor Jason Clarke. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "Helen Mirren Plays Catherine II in the Years That Made Her ‘the Great’," 21 Oct. 2019 Early favourites were Maryse Conde, the empress of Caribbean literature; the celebrated Kenyan novelist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o; and Haruki Murakami from Japan. F.r., The Economist, "Nobel prizes in literature: Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke," 10 Oct. 2019 The fervor for royal period dramas shows no sign of cooling down: HBO recently announced a new miniseries focused on the tumultuous reign of Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest-ruling empress. Jenna Adrian-diaz, Vogue, "Everything We Know About HBO’s Catherine the Great," 27 Sep. 2019 Gwendoline Christie, too, presided in her red and white Roman empress gown. BostonGlobe.com, "A big night for ‘Fleabag’ is just what the Emmys needed - The Boston Globe," 23 Sep. 2019 Michiko, 84, received the title of empress emerita after her husband, Akihito, abdicated on April 30. Washington Post, "Japan’s ex-Empress Michiko has early stage breast cancer," 10 Aug. 2019 Unlike the real Catherine the Great, Helen Mirren’s reign as the illustrious Russian empress in the HBO limited series was a fairly short one. Kristin Vartan, EW.com, "Love HBO’s Catherine the Great? There's more to know about the Russian empress," 18 Nov. 2019 Books that left a lasting impression on me: Imperial Woman, about the last empress of China, by Pearl S. Buck, and First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill, about Winston Churchill’s wife, by Sonia Purnell. Cher, Marie Claire, "Cher Talks Love, Life, and New Fragrance Launch," 24 Oct. 2019

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

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First Known Use of empress

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for empress

Middle English emperice, emperes (with assimilation of the suffix to -esse -ess), borrowed from Anglo-French emperice, empereis, going back to Late Latin imperātrīc-, imperātrīx (Latin, "female general [used ironically]"), from Latin imperāre "to give orders, exercise authority, hold political power" + -trīc-, -trīx, feminine agent suffix — more at emperor

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Time Traveler for empress

Time Traveler

The first known use of empress was in the 12th century

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Statistics for empress

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Empress.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empress. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for empress


How to pronounce empress (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of empress

: the wife or widow of an emperor
: a woman who rules an empire


em·​press | \ ˈem-prəs How to pronounce empress (audio) \

Kids Definition of empress

1 : a woman who rules an empire
2 : the wife of an emperor

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More from Merriam-Webster on empress

Spanish Central: Translation of empress

Nglish: Translation of empress for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of empress for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about empress

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