Definition of empress in English:



  • 1A woman who is a sovereign ruler of great power and rank, especially one ruling an empire.

    • ‘The centerpiece depicts the empress enthroned under a baldachin and surrounded by figures of Hercules, Minerva, Mars, and other gods celebrating her military achievements.’
    • ‘In 1768 he traveled to Vienna to inoculate the family of the Austrian empress Maria Theresa - including the young Marie Antoinette - and subsequently served as court physician for over ten years.’
    • ‘Disraeli seized the chance to buy a controlling interest in the Suez canal, he sent the flamboyant Lytton to India as viceroy, and his 1876 Royal Titles Act proclaimed Victoria empress of India.’
    • ‘There were many rumors that she was going to be the future empress of Austria.’
    • ‘China's emperors and empresses knew what they wanted.’
    • ‘She began receiving years of private instruction to assist her in her role as the future empress.’
    • ‘The giant Schonbrunn Palace was created for the empress Maria Theresa and her 16 children, and it looked pretty magical by lamplight.’
    • ‘Constitutional changes to permit a female empress may thus trigger dangerous public debate about the need for a monarchy.’
    • ‘They had to sneak into the capital and find a way into the empress's fortress.’
    • ‘It should be noted that Orchid's character is based on Tzu Hsi, who was China's longest-reigning female ruler and its last empress.’
    • ‘The reigning empresses were enthroned to prevent a break in succession in cases of emergency, such as when a crown prince was too young to reign or was forced to postpone enthronement for political reasons.’
    • ‘When the farmer brings him to Court, he makes the acquaintance of Her Majesty, the royal empress of Brobningnag.’
    • ‘The latest proclamation from the Empress states that all women, other than the empress herself, must leave the kingdom for unspoken reasons.’
    • ‘Anarchists threw bombs into the French parliament, and assassinated the Russian tsar, the French president, the Austrian empress, the Spanish prime minister, and the Italian king.’
    ruler, sovereign, monarch, potentate
    imperatrix, autarch, ethnarch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The wife or widow of an emperor.
      • ‘It became clear to the factory leadership that neither the emperor nor the empress were interested in copies on porcelain of paintings in the Hermitage.’
      • ‘From the 11 th Century, the images of the empresses and the mothers of emperors were placed beside that of the emperors.’
      • ‘The emperor and the empress are visiting those cliffs, too.’
      • ‘The king is expected to invite the emperor and empress to a private dinner at his palace on Wednesday.’
      • ‘When she died, only four years ago at the age of 97, she was also the longest living empress consort in Japanese history.’
      • ‘After the ceremony, Sayako said: ‘I would like to express my deep gratitude to both the emperor and the empress for blessing us.’’
      • ‘The emperor and empress met the Malaysian royal couple during a visit to Malaysia in 1970.’
      • ‘The emperor and empress did not attend the prince's funeral Friday in conformity with tradition.’
      • ‘After the event, the emperor and empress visited the recuperating Norwegian king at his palace for a private dinner.’
      • ‘During the Second Empire, Carpeaux was one of the favoured sculptors of both the emperor and empress.’
      • ‘The emperor and empress earlier in the day met with the king, who has been discharged from the hospital.’
      • ‘The empress dowager looked up, the tears beginning to course down those flawless cheeks.’
      • ‘Later emperors carried it further and in the second century AD empresses such as Sabina (wife of the emperor Trajan) were depicted as embodying, for example, pietas (family feeling).’
      • ‘The emperor and the empress eased themselves into their silk-cushioned thrones.’


Middle English: from Old French emperesse, feminine of emperere (see emperor).