Definition of countess in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkaʊntɛs/


1The wife or widow of a count or earl.
Example sentences
  • The wives of a king, prince, duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron are queen, princess, duchess, marchioness, countess, viscountess and baroness respectively.
  • Enslaved by this ‘tiny universe of rules and whispers,’ she steadfastly refuses to become Derby's mistress, gambling that he will marry her and make her a countess at his wife's death.
  • He marries a wealthy, foolish widow, the countess of Lyndon, and takes her name.
1.1A woman holding the rank of count or earl in her own right.
Example sentences
  • As already noted, the king sent two countesses, two knights, four ladies and Sir Marmaduke Darell, as paymaster, to meet the royal family as they entered England, and to bring them south.
  • He died in comparative poverty, but was buried in Westminster Abbey, where Lady Anne Clifford, countess of Dorset, paid for his handsome monument.
  • Among those attending that year were the Duke and Duchess of Ancaster, the Duke and Duchess of Gordon, and all manner of countesses, earls, colonels and honourables.


Middle English: from Old French contesse, from late Latin comitissa, feminine of comes (see count2).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: count|ess

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