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[koun-tis] /ˈkaʊn tɪs/
the wife or widow of a count in the nobility of Continental Europe or of an earl in the British peerage.
a woman having the rank of a count or earl in her own right.
Origin of countess
1125-75; Middle English c(o)untesse < Anglo-French. See count2, -ess
Usage note
See -ess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for countess
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To forget her friends that she might go into society a countess!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • The countess had worked hard all her life, and her hands were red and big-jointed.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • Now, don't worry about it any more—I expect it was the countess told you that.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • "Well, I do think it's awfully good, Dell," began the countess.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • "I just know he'll choose Bill," crowed the countess after the flicker of the doctor's skirts.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for countess


the wife or widow of a count or earl
a woman of the rank of count or earl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for countess

mid-12c., adopted in Anglo-French for "the wife of an earl," from Medieval Latin cometissa, fem. of Latin comes "count" (see count (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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