pri·​or·​ess | \ ˈprī-ə-rəs How to pronounce prioress (audio) \

Definition of prioress

: a nun corresponding in rank to a prior

Examples of prioress in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sister Maria Christine, prioress of the monastery, said the Dominican order’s goal is to upgrade and expand on the mission that the nuns began nearly 100 years ago: providing a peaceful oasis for silent prayer and contemplation. Deborah Netburnstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 Seventeen-year-old Marie de France is cast out of the royal court to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey in medieval Europe and finds purpose and love in her newfound devotion to the sisters. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 11 Dec. 2021 The author, whose previous fiction has probed contemporary American communities, sets this novel in an impoverished twelfth-century English abbey, where the protagonist, Marie, is sent at the age of seventeen to be prioress. The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 An embarrassment to the crown, with her ungainly physical presence making for a too-visible testimony to historical indiscretions, she is dispatched by Eleanor of Aquitaine to be the prioress of an abbey in bleakest, dampest England. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2021 The queen is sending Marie—an ungainly girl with large bones, and an illegitimate Plantagenet child to boot—to a far-off and troubled abbey, where Marie will become prioress. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 2 Sep. 2021 The story of a twelfth-century teenager, Marie de France, sent from France to be the new prioress of an English abbey. Vogue, 11 Aug. 2021 The novel takes place in the 1100s, during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and centers on a young woman who is sent to an impoverished abbey to be the new prioress. Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune, 30 July 2021 Dozens of burly volunteers, including veterans of the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, helped enforce his rules, while the prioress and several nuns have left. Washington Post, 7 July 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prioress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of prioress

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prioress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for prioress


pri·​or·​ess | \ ˈprī-ə-rəs How to pronounce prioress (audio) \
plural prioresses

Kids Definition of prioress

: a nun who is head of a religious house

More from Merriam-Webster on prioress

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