The suffix became generalized for the formation of fem. derivs. of masc. sbs., e.g. F. comtesse (f. comte), whence Eng. countess, and similarly duchess, hostess, lioness, mistress, princess. In OF. -esse was added to mascs. in -ere, -eor, e.g. enchanteresse enchantress; so in ME. -ess was added to agent-nouns in -er and -ster, as huntress, seamstress, songstress, contraction taking place where possible; the older †governeresse was reduced to governess; there are several cases of sbs. in -tor with fems. in -tress (e.g. actress, benefactress, traitress), with the result that this ending corr. to F. -trice, L. -trix. There was gen. extension to other kinds of sb., as authoress, goddess, mayoress, poetess, prioress, for some of which, however, there are F. models.
"-ess." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ess-1
"-ess." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved February 23, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ess-1
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.