A woman who is the head of an abbey of nuns.
More example sentences
- Abbots, abbesses and bishops were buried with their croziers, the pastoral staffs symbolic of their office.
- One example of this is in his sermon on St. Hilda, the seventh-century abbess who ruled over a double monastery of men and women at Whitby.
- There are many women who, as abbesses or as ordinary nuns, did much for learning and welfare.
Middle English: from Old French abbesse 'female abbot', from ecclesiastical Latin abbatissa, from abbas, abbat- (see abbot).
Definition of abbess in:
- The US English dictionary