Definition of presbyteress in US English:


(also presbytress)


  • 1The wife of a presbyter or priest. Now historical.

  • 2A female presbyter; specifically a member of an order of women in the early Church, having some of the functions of presbyters.


Mid 16th century; earliest use found in John Bale (1495–1563), bishop of Ossory, evangelical polemicist, and historian. From post-classical Latin presbyterissa woman serving the church, priest's wife from presbyter + -issa.