Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A woman holding the title of count or earl.
  • n. The wife or widow of a count in various European countries.
  • n. The wife or widow of an earl in Great Britain.
  • n. Used as a title for such a noblewoman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The wife of a count or earl.
  • n. The title used by a female who holds an earldom in her own right.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The wife of an earl in the British peerage, or of a count in the Continental nobility; also, a lady possessed of the same dignity in her own right. See the Note under count.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The title, in English, of the wife of any nobleman on the continent of Europe bearing a title equivalent to English count: commonly extended also to the daughters of such noblemen as a prefix to their personal names.
  • n. In the British peerage, the wife or widow of an earl, or a woman possessing an earldom in her own right.
  • n. A roofing-slate 20 inches long and 10 inches wide.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. female equivalent of a count or earl

Etymologies

Middle English countes, from Old French contesse, feminine of conte, count; see count2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman cuntesse, Old French contesse, from Latin comitessa. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Contessa is a title countess and so I saw her first as a titled adult, then I read that she's been adopted.

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  • Christianity is a spiritual-semantic meme that has evolved in countess fascinating ways, and has been exploited by a plethora of power structures.

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  • An African American Jewish woman educated by a countess from the age of seven, for at least a decade this “Dark Lady of the Sonnets” was mistress to the man in charge of the English Theater.

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  • Chertkov warns the innocent Valentin that the countess is dangerous to their mission and instructs him to keep detailed reports.

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  • Further, the title of countess is legally bestowed if a female is the sole heir, which gives Lillian Boudine the title of Countess of Ashwood and all the responsibilities and entitlements that entails.

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  • If a certain American countess had not patronized her; if certain lorgnettes (implements of torture used by said son of Satan) had not been leveled in her direction; if certain fans had not been suggestively spread between pairs of feminine heads, -- Nora would have been as harmless as a playful kitten.

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  • What was more, my lord's coachman caught it up, and he called her countess, and he had a quarrel about it with the footman Kendall; and the day after a dreadful affair between them in the mews, home drives madam, and Kendall is to go up to her, and down the poor man comes, and not a word to be got out of him, but as if he had seen a ghost.

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  • The count and his wife, on returning to Spain, took with them a quantity of the healing bark; and they were thus the first persons to introduce this valuable medicine into Europe, where it was for some time known as the countess's bark or powder, and was named by the celebrated naturalist

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  • Apropos, I must tell you about a certain French countess, if only to put this nasty contemptible character out of my head.

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  • Danish Sagas. in countess lays and ballads in all the dialects of

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