American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A member of a religious community of women living under a common rule but not bound by vows.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Eccles., a member of a community of women living under a rule, but not obliged to make any vows or to renounce the world.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A woman who holds a canonry in a conventual chapter.
- canon + -ess. Compare Latin canonissa. (Wiktionary)
“As a canoness, Hrotswitha didn't take a vow of poverty, and had freedom of movement not allowed to nuns.”
““If I am ever dean,” said Mr. Slope, “that is, were I ever to become so, I should glory in such a canoness.””
“Isabel was sure moreover that her mild forehead and silver cross referred to some weird Anglican mystery — some delightful reinstitution perhaps of the quaint office of the canoness.”
“The former was called Madame, because she was canoness of a chapter at Lorraine.”
“Madame Hanska was not only willing that Balzac should write to her but sent him her address and they exchanged messages frequently about the canoness.”
“One of their first victims was an aged nun of the Simiane family, canoness of the convent of Bollene, accused of being a counter-revolutionist; so lame and infirm, that her executioners were forced to carry her to the scaffold.”
“One young and lovely canoness dared to maintain the rights of her freedom, even in the face of her most amiable enemy.”
“The former was called Madame, because she was canoness of a chapter at”
“At her side stood her younger sister, a canoness, who was paying her a few days 'visit -- an amiable lady with a very cheerful temperament.”
“[Footnote 2: In his early days the President of the Royal Academy painted a very striking portrait of Jane Porter, as "Miranda," and Harlowe painted her in the canoness dress of the order of St. Joachim.]”
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