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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for countess

Contemporary Examples of countess

Historical Examples of countess

  • To forget her friends that she might go into society a countess!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Now, don't worry about it any more—I expect it was the Countess told you that.

  • The Countess had worked hard all her life, and her hands were red and big-jointed.

  • "Well, I do think it's awfully good, Dell," began the Countess.

  • "I just know he'll choose Bill," crowed the Countess after the flicker of the doctor's skirts.

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

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