Definition of canoness in US English:



  • (in the Roman Catholic Church) a member of certain religious orders of women living communally according to an ecclesiastical rule in the same way as nuns.

    • ‘By 1216 there were approximately 700 houses and some 13,000 monks, nuns, canons, and canonesses.’
    • ‘The monastery functioned as a leprosarium and Juliana served there as a canoness until ousted during a conflict with townspeople.’
    • ‘Hroswitha became a canoness and was allowed to leave the convent for outside visits.’
    • ‘In Scotland there were a dozen or so nunneries, mainly Cistercian, and in Ireland about ten of the 140 monasteries were nunneries, all of them for regular canonesses.’
    nun, novice, abbess, prioress, mother superior, reverend mother
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