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From elector +‎ -ess.



electress (plural electresses)

  1. (rare, dated) A woman who can vote in an election. [from 17th c.]
    • 1868 May 23, Punch[1], page 228:
      I often wish I were, not a butterfly nor a bird—nothing so ridiculous—but an Electress!
    • 1881 November 12, The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art[2], page 603:
      Free and independent electresses might object to be set in the forefront of the battle to shield their husbands and brothers from consabulary buckshot.
    • 1907, “Women's rights in realms afar”, in The Fortnightly[3], volume 82, page 419:
      To be an electress is the greatest honour imaginable; and to be the husband of an electress—why, it doubles a man's income at once.
  2. (now historical) The wife of a German elector, often used as a title. [from 17th c.]
    • 1773, The Literary Register: Or, Weekly Miscellany[4], volume 5, page 177:
      Nothing could equal the astonishment of both, on hearing the door open without their command, and seeing the electress enter, who was the person in the world they least expected, and to the duchess, perhaps, the least welcome.
    • 1938, CV Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War, page 63:
      The Electress Magdalena Sybilla was a woman of character, virtuous, kind, conventional and managing.
    • 1971, James Cracraft, The Church Reform of Peter the Great[5], page 31:
      In July 1697 Electress Sophie had given an informal party for Peter which was attended only by her immediate family and the electresses of Brunswick and Hanover.
    • 2014, Patricia Howard, The Modern Castrato: Gaetano Guadagni and the Coming of a New Operatic Age[6]:
      On Sunday 13 June the electress attended mass at the Santo and visited the relics of the saint, on which occasion Guadagni sang, as usual, Vallotti's antiphon 'O linque benedicta'; in the evening she was entertained at an accademia di musica in the Giustinian palalace, where Guadagni is numbered among the performers; the following evening she heard him again in a performance of her own short opera, Il trionfo della fedeltà (first performed in Dresden, 1754) at the Palazzo Dondi Orologio.

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