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 The plans of a widowed Constantinople empress, Arianna, to marry and thus crown a new emperor, Anastasio, are interrupted by an invading rebel army led by Arianna’s jilted lover, the nasty Vitaliano. Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2022 The obsession with the empress’ appearance is akin with the obsession with Instagram and celebrity culture. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 25 May 2022 As both queen and empress, Pahlavi was devoted to social issues, with a strong personal passion for art and culture. Cyrill Matter, Town & Country, 28 Apr. 2022 But two weeks after wrapping production on the second season of The Great in Europe, the 23-year-old actress found herself in Savannah, Georgia, last summer, preparing for a role that's a dramatic departure from an 18th-century Russian empress. Max Gao, Harper's BAZAAR, 1 Apr. 2022 The new season of Hulu's naughty - and mostly not historically accurate - depiction of Catherine the Great's life as empress of 18th century Russia debuts Friday. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 19 Nov. 2021 Anya is befriended by two con men, Dmitry and Vlad, who offer to help herto get the reward offered by the dowager empress for returning her granddaughter Anastasia. baltimoresun.com, 3 Mar. 2022 Many Russian readers would have seen in this encounter nothing more than a joke at the expense of the simple Cossacks, overawed by the grandeur of the palace and the empress. Uilleam Blacker, The Atlantic, 10 Mar. 2022 When the book begins, Dee has been appointed Imperial Circuit Supervisor of the Tang Empire—an office bestowed to remove him from the capital, where the judge’s recent pronouncement on imperial succession has sparked the empress’s ire. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 4 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

9 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Empress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empress. Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for empress


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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