em·​press | \ˈem-prəs \

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

Along the way, he was feted by a Japanese empress and had an audience with the king of Spain. New York Times, "Einstein the Anti-Racist? Not in His Travel Diaries," 14 June 2018 One performance that drew attention was Judith Light’s portrayal of beauty product empress Marilyn Miglin, the wife of Cunanan’s third murder victim. Yvonne Villarreal, latimes.com, "'Assassination of Gianni Versace' delves into the mind of a killer — and societal prejudice," 20 June 2018 Maria herself would rise to become one of the most powerful empresses in the world through the diligent direction of her domineering mother. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "Empress Maria heads juicy Russian cast in historical novel about the Romanovs," 12 July 2018 For me as a historian of India, the empress is not an add-on. Randy Dotinga, The Christian Science Monitor, "Ruby Lal, author of 'Empress,' discusses the amazing life and reign of Nur Jahan," 27 June 2018 Jacques-Louis David painted this scene from 1804-1807; in it, Napoleon is crowning his empress Joséphine at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside the Louvre with Beyoncé and Jay-Z," 18 June 2018 The other beguiling women walking the fake red carpet, like Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Rihanna (the empress of the gala) are part of the cast. refinery29.com, "All The Glamorous Celebrity Cameos In Ocean’s 8," 8 June 2018 The film introduces us to the royal court, ruled by empresses and emperors who have entertained thousands and raised millions to help others. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "A sneak preview of the Frameline film fest lineup," 6 June 2018 It was then auctioned off in 1778 in Amsterdam and sold to Russian empress Catherine the Great. Time, "The World's Largest Freshwater Pearl Is Sold at Auction for $374,000," 1 June 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of empress

: the wife or widow of an emperor

: a woman who rules an empire


em·​press | \ˈem-prəs \

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

Comments on empress

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by force of circumstances

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