One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The wife of a general.
2A female general.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland. From general + -ess. In quot. 1824 at sense 1 after German Frau Generalin; compare Madam Privy-councilloress in the same quot., which renders German Frau Geheimrätin.
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