mistress

[mis-tris]

noun


Origin of mistress

1275–1325; Middle English maistresse < Middle French, Old French, equivalent to maistre master + -esse -ess
Related formsmis·tressed, adjectivemis·tress-ship, noun

Usage note

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

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British Dictionary definitions for mistress

mistress

noun

a woman who has a continuing extramarital sexual relationship with a man
a woman in a position of authority, ownership, or control, such as the head of a household
a woman or female personification having control over something specifiedshe was mistress of her own destiny
mainly British short for schoolmistress
an archaic or dialect word for sweetheart

Word Origin for mistress

C14: from Old French; see master, -ess

Mistress

noun

an archaic or dialect title equivalent to Mrs
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 mistress
n.

early 14c., "female teacher, governess," from Old French maistresse "mistress (lover); housekeeper; governess, female teacher" (Modern French maîtresse), fem. of maistre "master" (see master (n.)). Sense of "a woman who employs others or has authority over servants" is from early 15c. Sense of "kept woman of a married man" is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper