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See more synonyms for prioress on Thesaurus.com
  1. a woman holding a position corresponding to that of a prior, sometimes ranking next below an abbess.
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Origin of prioress

1250–1300; Middle English prioresse < Old French. See prior2, -ess
Related formssub·pri·or·ess, noun

Usage note

See -ess.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for prioress

Historical Examples

  • In the meantime they proposed to me the engagement, and the post of prioress.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon

    Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon

  • The large refectory was exchanged for the small chamber of the prioress.

  • Margery replied courteously, but she had no desire to see much of the Prioress.

    Mistress Margery

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • “I rejoice that you take my meaning,” answered the Prioress, in an even voice.

    Mistress Margery

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • Only a few minutes had elapsed when the Prioress herself appeared.

    The King's Daughters

    Emily Sarah Holt

British Dictionary definitions for prioress


  1. a nun holding an office in her convent corresponding to that of a prior in a male religious order
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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 prioress


c.1300, from Medieval Latin priorissa, from prior "head of a priory of men" (see prior (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper