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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Ecclesiastical Terms) the female superior of a convent
[C13: from Old French, from Church Latin abbātissa]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈæbɪs] Nabadesa f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈæbɛs] nabbesse f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nÄbtissin f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈæbɪs] nbadessa
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈӕbət) feminine abbess (ˈӕbes) noun
the male head of an abbey.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
A monotonous, silent city, deriving an earthy flavour throughout from its Cathedral crypt, and so abounding in vestiges of monastic graves, that the Cloisterham children grow small salad in the dust of abbots and abbesses, and make dirt-pies of nuns and friars; while every ploughman in its outlying fields renders to once puissant Lord Treasurers, Archbishops, Bishops, and such-like, the attention which the Ogre in the story-book desired to render to his unbidden visitor, and grinds their bones to make his bread.
3 - Best sportsman with disability : Walid Ketila, Abbesses Saidi, Yassine Gharbi, Bilel Aloui, Ismail Bouabid.
Can the authority of female religious superiors, especially the abbesses of territorial abbeys, not be recognized?
But the tradition of the Liber Vitae goes back centuries - the original manuscript was started in the ninth century, possibly on Lindisfarne, and listed the names of kings, dukes, queens and abbesses etc in gold and silver.
Maybe most surprising are the abbesses of Las Huelgas near Burgos in Spain, who acted as extraterritorial bishops until the 1870s.
In the West the tradition of deacon-abbesses was reflected, if not preserved, in Benedictine and Cistercian abbeys of Catalonia, whose abbesses wore the stole at liturgy.
There is another group of women that Woolf has overlooked as well: a brilliant and remarkable group of over-achievers, nuns from the early Middle Ages--a period from the fifth century to the year 1,000 approximately-known as abbesses. An abbess was a title given to a nun who ruled over a convent of religious sisters.
IBACK most abbots and abbesses, which is why I was on Talgo Abbess, third at 100-8, in the Champion Hurdle in 1967.
Three abbesses of Port-Royal are Conley's focus, all members of the Arnauld family: two sisters and a niece of theirs.
In one such article, Michel Melot describes how the wealth and power of the abbesses of the Order of Fontevrault in the Anjou region established a tradition of artistic patronage in which the abbesses, daughters, of prominent aristocrats, brought dowries and family names that raised their religious order to high political, economic, and spiritual rank and status.
He is 'surprised that the custom should have been long established in convents of putting abbesses in charge of women just as abbots are set over men, and of binding women by profession to the same rule.