[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. counterview,
  2. counterweigh,
  3. counterweight,
  4. counterword,
  5. counterwork,
  6. counting,
  7. counting chamber,
  8. counting house,
  9. counting number,
  10. counting room

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for countess

British Dictionary definitions for countess


/ (ˈkaʊntɪs) /


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

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