pres·​by·​ter·​ess | \ ˈprezbətərə̇s \
plural -es

Definition of presbyteress

1a : the wife of a presbyter or priest in one of the early medieval churches especially : one coming under the operation of the rule requiring the continence of clergymen
b obsolete : a priest's concubine
2 : a woman serving as a presbyter or elder in one of the early medieval churches : one of a body of aged widows dedicated to the service of the church and constituting an ecclesiastical order
3 : the wife of a priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church

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History and Etymology for presbyteress

partial translation of Medieval Latin presbyterissa, from presbyter priest (from Late Latin, presbyter, elder) + Late Latin -issa -ess

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Cite this Entry

“Presbyteress.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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