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A woman chief, especially in traditional Hawaiian society.

[chief + -ess.]
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.


(Anthropology & Ethnology) a chief who is female
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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Coutras had gone one day to Taravao in order to see an old chiefess who was ill, and he gave a vivid picture of the obese old lady, lying in a huge bed, smoking cigarettes, and surrounded by a crowd of dark-skinned retainers.
I was down at Taravao to see the chiefess, and Ata sent for me to see you."
More than two years passed before I went to Taravao again, and then it was once more to see the old chiefess. I asked them whether they had heard anything of Strickland.
I decided to see Strickland, and when I had finished with the chiefess asked for a boy to show me the way.
Together with two other women--her fellow widow Keopuolani and the chiefess Kapi'olani (5)--Ka'ahumanu conspired to overthrow her nation's ancient religion, the brutal and oppressive system known to us as kapu.
Around the time of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, which was steeped in misogyny and xenophobia, and after his subsequent win, respectively, Disney served audiences with the characters Moana (Auli'i Cravalho), a headstrong Polynesian chiefess drawn to the ocean who defies her over-protective father in order to save their island; and Coco's Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a music-crazed Mexican boy who ventures into the Land of the Dead to understand more about his ancestry and cultural heritage.
The eruption threatened to destroy the town of Hilo until a royal Hawaiian chiefess visited the active flow and interceded with Pele to spare the city.
In her decolonizing essay, Lani Cupchoy reconstructs the history of the Hawaiian warrior woman Chiefess Manono, juxtaposing the nineteenth-century colonial script with stories still being told by native elders in the present day.
It was collaboration between the University of Hawaii Marine Option program, a local NGO, and science teachers from the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii, USA.
Julia's grandmother, the chiefess Ahia, married Captain George Beckley, one of "Kamehameha's haoles" and the first commander of the Fort of Honolulu, in a traditional Hawaiian ceremony (41) The couple were devoted; Ahia sailed with her husband on many of his voyages and was thought to be the first ali'i wahine to visit Canton.
Purea was a chiefess of Tahiti's southern district of Papara and although she was ambitious for greater power, at this stage neither she nor any other chief possessed rule over the island as a whole.