- A female superior or governess of a nunnery, or convent of nuns, having the same authority over the nuns which the abbots have over the monks.
- The abbess was always after the nuns to keep the convent immaculately clean.
- (1811) A bawd, the mistress of a brothel (1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue).
Etymology: From Old French abaesse, abeesse, French abbesse, Latin abbatissa, feminine of abbas, abbatis, abbot.
- Dutch: abdis
- French: abbesse
- German: í„btissin , í„btin , Oberin (=Reverend Mother)
- Spanish: abadesa, Abadesa
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