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From chieftain +‎ -ess.


chieftainess (plural chieftainesses)

  1. In tribal societies, a female chieftain or the wife of a chieftain.
    • 1815, Walter Scott, Guy Mannering, Chapter, [1]
      He gazed in silence for some minutes upon the body of Meg Merrilies, as it lay before him, with the features sharpened by death, yet still retaining the stern and energetic character which had maintained in life her superiority as the wild chieftainess of the lawless people amongst whom she was born.
    • 1941, Emily Carr, chapter 20, in Klee Wyck[2]:
      Mrs. Douse was more important than Mr. Douse; she was a chieftainess in her own right, and had great dignity.