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.
- the wife or widow of a count or earl
- a noblewoman whose rank is equal to that of a count or earl
Origin of countessMiddle English countesse from Old French contesse from Medieval Latin cometissa: see count and -ess
- 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 of countessMiddle English countes from Old French contesse feminine of conte count ; see count 2.