a personal noun suffix occurring in loanwords from French, where it forms feminine nouns corresponding to masculine nouns ending in -en (comedienne, doyenne); on this model, of very limited productivity in English, forming distinctively feminine nouns from words ending in -an: equestrienne.
usage: The English words that end in -enne do not usu. carry an implication of inferiority. Many people, however, prefer to drop the feminine forms and to use the masculine terms for all. See also -ess, -ette, -trix.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.