- The definition of a countess is a female equivalent of an earl, or is a wife or widow of a count or earl.
The wife of the Earl of York is an example of a countess.
countess definition by Webster's New World
- the wife or widow of a count or earl
- a noblewoman whose rank is equal to that of a count or earl
Origin: Middle English countesse ; from Old French contesse ; from Midieval Latin cometissa: see count and amp; -ess
countess definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A woman holding the title of count or earl.
- a. The wife or widow of a count in various European countries.b. The wife or widow of an earl in Great Britain.
- Used as a title for such a noblewoman.
Origin: Middle English countes, from Old French contesse, feminine of conte, count; see count2.