Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A woman holding the title of count or earl.
  • noun The wife or widow of a count in various European countries.
  • noun The wife or widow of an earl in Great Britain.
  • noun Used as a title for such a noblewoman.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A roofing-slate 20 inches long and 10 inches wide.
  • noun The title, in English, of the wife of any nobleman on the continent of Europe bearing a title equivalent to English count: commonly extended also to the daughters of such noblemen as a prefix to their personal names.
  • noun In the British peerage, the wife or widow of an earl, or a woman possessing an earldom in her own right.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The wife of an earl in the British peerage, or of a count in the Continental nobility; also, a lady possessed of the same dignity in her own right. See the Note under count.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The wife of a count or earl.
  • noun The title used by a female who holds an earldom in her own right.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun female equivalent of a count or earl

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English countes, from Old French contesse, feminine of conte, count; see count.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Anglo-Norman cuntesse, Old French contesse, from Latin comitessa.

Examples

  • Contessa is a title countess and so I saw her first as a titled adult, then I read that she's been adopted.

    HH Com 440

  • Christianity is a spiritual-semantic meme that has evolved in countess fascinating ways, and has been exploited by a plethora of power structures.

    Archive 2010-01-01

  • Christianity is a spiritual-semantic meme that has evolved in countess fascinating ways, and has been exploited by a plethora of power structures.

    LNN interviews Casey Rae-Hunter on his new album : The Lovecraft News Network

  • Chertkov warns the innocent Valentin that the countess is dangerous to their mission and instructs him to keep detailed reports.

    Mirren is the power behind Tolstoy biopic 'Last Station'

  • An African American Jewish woman educated by a countess from the age of seven, for at least a decade this “Dark Lady of the Sonnets” was mistress to the man in charge of the English Theater.

    Shakespeare Controversies

  • Further, the title of countess is legally bestowed if a female is the sole heir, which gives Lillian Boudine the title of Countess of Ashwood and all the responsibilities and entitlements that entails.

    The Year of Living Scandalously

  • Further, the title of countess is legally bestowed if a female is the sole heir, which gives Lillian Boudine the title of Countess of Ashwood and all the responsibilities and entitlements that entails.

    The Year of Living Scandalously

  • If a certain American countess had not patronized her; if certain lorgnettes (implements of torture used by said son of Satan) had not been leveled in her direction; if certain fans had not been suggestively spread between pairs of feminine heads, -- Nora would have been as harmless as a playful kitten.

    The Place of Honeymoons

  • What was more, my lord's coachman caught it up, and he called her countess, and he had a quarrel about it with the footman Kendall; and the day after a dreadful affair between them in the mews, home drives madam, and Kendall is to go up to her, and down the poor man comes, and not a word to be got out of him, but as if he had seen a ghost.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Works of George Meredith

  • What was more, my lord's coachman caught it up, and he called her countess, and he had a quarrel about it with the footman Kendall; and the day after a dreadful affair between them in the mews, home drives madam, and Kendall is to go up to her, and down the poor man comes, and not a word to be got out of him, but as if he had seen a ghost.

    Beauchamp's Career — Volume 6

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