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1. The superior of a convent.
2. Used as a title for such a person.

[Middle English abesse, from Old French, from Late Latin abbātissa, from abbās, abbāt-, abbot; see abbot.]


(Ecclesiastical Terms) the female superior of a convent
[C13: from Old French, from Church Latin abbātissa]


(ˈæb ɪs)

a woman who is the superior of a convent of nuns.
[1275–1325; Middle English < Old French abbesse, abaesse < Late Latin abbātissa, feminine of abbās abbot]
usage: See -ess.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.abbess - the superior of a group of nunsabbess - the superior of a group of nuns  
mother - a term of address for a mother superior
superior - the head of a religious community


[ˈæbɪs] Nabadesa f


[ˈæbɛs] nabbesse f


nÄbtissin f


[ˈæbɪs] nbadessa


(ˈӕbət) feminine abbess (ˈӕbes) noun
the male head of an abbey.
References in classic literature ?
The abbess assigned her a chamber, and had breakfast served.
After breakfast, the abbess came to pay her a visit.
At Whitby there was a monastery ruled over by the Abbess Hilda.
And the steward, greatly marveling, led Caedmon to the Abbess.
This was the cloister of the nuns, and the old woman was the Abbess.
And now, when all was settled, and when abbess and lady superior had had their will, it was but fitting that some pomp and show should mark the glad occasion.
Cook,' said the lady abbess, who took care to be on the top stair, the very last of the group--'cook, why don't you go a little way into the garden?
The Lady Abbess takes good care to shut out all the noise we make.
Now there is a dispute as to this abbess who bled him.
Mental suffering and trial supply, in some natures, the place of years, and I will be as plain with you as if I were a Lady Abbess.
They all offered their services to Eugenio but he who showed himself most liberal in this way was Don Quixote, who said to him, "Most assuredly, brother goatherd, if I found myself in a position to attempt any adventure, I would, this very instant, set out on your behalf, and would rescue Leandra from that convent (where no doubt she is kept against her will), in spite of the abbess and all who might try to prevent me, and would place her in your hands to deal with her according to your will and pleasure, observing, however, the laws of chivalry which lay down that no violence of any kind is to be offered to any damsel.
Becoming Abbot of a monastery, he had her made Abbess of a convent.