[ ak-tris ]
/ ˈæk trɪs /


a woman who acts in stage plays, motion pictures, television broadcasts, etc., especially professionally.

Nearby words

  1. actoridae,
  2. actorish,
  3. actors' equity association,
  4. actp,
  5. actra,
  6. actressy,
  7. acts,
  8. acts of the apostles,
  9. actt,
  10. actu

Origin of actress

First recorded in 1580–90; act(o)r + -ess

Usage note

See -ess. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for actress

British Dictionary definitions for actress


/ (ˈæktrɪs) /


a woman who acts in a play, film, broadcast, etc
informal a woman who puts on a false manner in order to deceive others


Use of the word actress to refer to a female who acts is old-fashioned. The modern gender-neutral form is actor

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

Word Origin and History for actress



1580s, "female who does something;" see actor + -ess; stage sense is from 1700. Sometimes French actrice was used.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper