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

According to Chinese legend, an empress discovered silk when a cocoon tumbled into her cup of tea. Vanessa Hua, SFChronicle.com, "The wonder of silkworms, past and present," 5 July 2019 Nasa is everything -- future empress queen of New York. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, "Julian Casablancas Talks Running Cult Records: 'I Never Know If It's Something To Be Proud or Ashamed Of'," 17 June 2019 Her husband’s civic duties kept the couple apart, which further isolated the young empress. National Geographic, "Life for this Bavarian princess was no fairy tale," 14 May 2019 The Congers were eager to improve US–China relations after the damage caused by the anti-foreign Boxer Uprising of 1900, which the empress dowager had supported. Emiko Usui, The New York Review of Books, "Mothers of the State," 10 Feb. 2019 Moriya and his father were set to meet the emperor and empress later that day. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Watch Japan's Princess Ayako Get Formally Engaged to Commoner Kei Moriya," 13 Aug. 2018 At the same time, the empresses upheld Manchu culture. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "‘Empresses of China’s Forbidden City’ Review: Searching for Stories of Power," 28 Aug. 2018 Given that Queen Bee, a common nickname for Beyoncé, hasn't been singing since the '50s, many online instead ran with the empress part of the clue. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "This Fan Theory of Who Is the Bee on 'The Masked Singer' Is Definitely Right," 10 Jan. 2019 Thanks to her Netflix show, Marie Kondo is the empress of organizing these days. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "The Case For Rolling, Not Folding, Your Clothes," 15 Jan. 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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Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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

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More Definitions for empress



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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