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The letter s.



1. the letter S, s.
2. something shaped like an S.


a suffix forming distinctively feminine nouns: countess; goddess; lioness.
[Middle English -esse < Old French < Late Latin -issa < Greek]
usage: Since at least the 14th century, English has borrowed nouns with this feminine suffix from French (French -esse) and also applied that ending to existing words, most frequently agent nouns in -or or -er. Some of the earliest borrowings - noble or religious titles - still flourish, as princess, duchess, abbess, and prioress. The use of -ess words has declined sharply in the latter half of the 20th century. Among those words that are rarely used or are either rejected or discouraged in modern American English are ambassadress, ancestress, authoress, poetess, sculptress, and stewardess. Some nouns in -ess are still current: actress (but some women prefer actor); adventuress; enchantress; governess (only in its child-care sense); heiress (largely in journalistic writing); hostess (but women who conduct radio and television programs are hosts); millionairess; mistress (except in the sense of expert); murderess; postmistress (not in official U.S. government use); seamstress; seductress; sorceress; temptress; and waitress. Jewess and Negress are rarely used today and are generally considered offensive. See also -enne, -ette, -trix.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Cisco ONS 15600 MSPP combines the functionality of multiple Synchronous Optical Network/Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SONET/SDH) metro systems, including multiplexers, and digital cross-connect network elements together into one scalable, easy-to-use platform that supports all metro topologies, such as: point-to-point, linear add/drop, rings, and mesh.
Using iBasis' DirectVoIP(TM) Broadband service, Telefonica has quickly established a direct IP interconnection with the iBasis global VoIP network in Germany which enables it to add competitive international calling to its IP Telephony offering without the large capital expense associated with fixed TDM circuits, local loops, digital cross-connect switches and gateway ports in global interconnect facilities and data centers.

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