mis·​tress | \ˈmis-trəs \

Definition of mistress 

1 : a woman who has power, authority, or ownership: such as

a : the female head of a household

b : a woman who employs or supervises servants The servants were required to do their mistress's bidding without question.

c : a woman who is in charge of a school or other establishment Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a school— Jane Austen

d : a woman of the Scottish nobility having a status comparable to that of a master

2a chiefly British : a female teacher or tutor

b : a woman who has achieved mastery in some field She was a mistress of music.

3 : something personified as female that rules, directs, or dominates when Rome was mistress of the world

4a : a woman other than his wife with whom a married man has a continuing sexual relationship

b archaic : sweetheart

5a used archaically as a title prefixed to the name of a married or unmarried woman

b chiefly Southern US and Midland US : mrs. sense 1a

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Synonyms for mistress


concubine, doxy (also doxie), other woman, woman

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Examples of mistress in a Sentence

Servants were required to do the mistress's bidding without question. The dog was always obedient to its master and mistress. the master and mistress of the house a married man who has a mistress His wife suspected that the woman she'd seen with him was his mistress.
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Recent Examples on the Web

While the palace, covered in the most lifelife carvings, was considered an unrivaled architectural masterpiece, it was eventually dismantled in 1682 by Charles II’s mistress Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, to settle her gambling debts. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Part of Henry VIII’s Birthplace Discovered," 18 Aug. 2017 Some of them openly longed for European moral norms, where husbands, wives, and mistresses supposedly all learn to get along. David French, National Review, "Conservatives Need to Remember, Presidents Affect Culture," 16 Aug. 2017 According to Teresa Pond, before her father Bob Pond married Roberta Evatt in 1969, a friend of Bob's pulled Evatt aside and warned her about her groom's mistress: the theater. Author: Tamara Ikenberg, Alaska Dispatch News, "Anchorage theater legend Bob Pond dies at age 80," 4 Aug. 2017 Sybil Sage, a television writer and mosaic artist, describes Alexa’s place in her household as a cross between a mistress and a nurse. Penelope Green, The Seattle Times, "How Amazon’s Alexa found a place in our homes and in some hearts," 12 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mistress.' 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 mistress

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mistress

Middle English maistresse, from Anglo-French mestresse, feminine of mestre master — more at master

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Time Traveler for mistress

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

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More Definitions for mistress


mis·​tress | \ˈmi-strəs \

Kids Definition of mistress

1 : a female teacher

2 : a woman who has control or authority over another person, an animal, or a thing … the old woman had no loyalty toward her mistress— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain

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More from Merriam-Webster on mistress

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mistress

Spanish Central: Translation of mistress

Nglish: Translation of mistress for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mistress for Arabic Speakers

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full of whispering sounds

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