Origin of ess
Words nearby ess
Other definitions for ess (2 of 2)
Origin of -ess
usage note for -ess
Nouns in -ess denoting occupation or profession are rapidly disappearing from American English. Airlines now refer to cabin personnel as flight attendants, not stewards and stewardesses. In the arts, authoress, editress, poetess, sculptress, and similar terms are either rejected or discouraged and almost always replaced by author, editor, poet, sculptor. Nouns in -ess designating the holder of public office are hardly ever encountered in modern American usage. Women holding the office of ambassador, mayor, or governor are referred to by those titles rather than by the older, gender-marked ambassadress, mayoress, or governess. ( Governess has developed a special sense in relation to childcare; this use is less common in the U.S. than in Britain.) Among other terms almost never used in modern American English are ancestress, directress, instructress, manageress, oratress, postmistress, and proprietress. If the gender of the performer is not relevant to performance of the task or function, the neutral term in -er or -or is now widely used.
Some nouns in -ess are still current: actress (but some women in the acting profession prefer to be called actors ); adventuress; enchantress; heiress (largely in journalistic writing); hostess (but women who conduct radio and television programs are referred to as hosts ); millionairess; murderess ; seamstress; seductress; sorceress; temptress; and waitress (the substitute term server has not been widely adopted).
Jewess and Negress are usually considered offensive today. Mistress has given way to master in the sense of one who has acquired expertise in something: She is a master at interpreting financial reports. See also -enne, -ette, -trix.
How to use ess in a sentence
Still, Barrymore maintained that for all of her Girls Just Want to Have Fun-ess, she works hard to earn that right.
But Maud, did you learn the reason of Mr. Ess—that is Mora's folks—well—why they came up yesterday?A Fortune Hunter; Or, The Old Stone Corral|John Dunloe Carteret
"Very well; then mis'ess's niece can't pass," said the turnpike-keeper, closing the gate.Far from the Madding Crowd|Thomas Hardy
Mis'ess Yeobright, not ten minutes ago a man was here asking for you—a reddleman.
"'Tis very lonesome for 'ee in the heth tonight, mis'ess," said Christian, coming from the seclusion he had hitherto maintained.
If they smash the tables of the law, it is in kid-gloves, and with a delicious odor of Ess bouquet about them.That Boy Of Norcott's|Charles James Lever