from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A Protestant woman who assists the minister in various functions.
- n. Used as a title prefixed to the surname of such a woman: Deaconess Brown.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A female deacon.
- n. A female servant in the early Christian church.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. One of an order of women whose duties resembled those of deacons.
- n. A woman set apart for church work by a bishop.
- n. A woman chosen as a helper in church work, as among the Congregationalists.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of an ecclesiastical order of women in the early church, who discharged for members of their own sex those parts of the diaconal office which could not conveniently or fitly be performed by men.
- n. A member of an order of women more or less fully established in recent times in several Protestant churches, with duties similar to the preceding; also, a member of the Institution of Deaconesses first established by Pastor Fliedner, of the United Evangelical Church of Prussia, at Kaiserswerth in 1836.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a woman deacon
deacon + -ess (Wiktionary)