lady abbess

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lady abbess (plural lady abbesses)

  1. (rare, obsolete, euphemistic) A bawd, the mistress of a brothel.
    • ca 1670–80, ?, Description of a Poetress:
      That Lady Abbess of all secret sin. / Swears that she is so lean and ugly grown, / She will not pass with her for half a crown, / Yet Stamford's countess does admire her wit, / But likes it most because 'tis lewdly writ.
    • 1683, Ferrante Pallavicino, The Whores Rhetorick, pages 128–129:
      The Lady Abbess took leave of her young Probationer, to dispatch some affairs of her own elsewhere; having promised to return next morning about the same Hour she had done that day.
    • 1732, Richard Johnson, Caelia:
      This is our College, Madam; and these are the Students: Or rather, Madam, this is a Nunnery, and I am Lady Abbess.
    • 1756, ?, A compleat and humorous account of all the remarkable clubs and societies, seventh edition, page 270:
      And whenever any She-member could convert a Proselite, and bring her over from a vertuous Life to be willing to embrace that earthly Tabernacle, Man, for such excellent Service done to the Church of Venus, she was to receive ten Shillings of the Mother of the Maids, provided the Conformist was under twenty Years of Age, had a tollerable Share of Beauty, and either was, or could confidently put herself into the Hands of the old Matron, as a Virgo intacta, and would submit herself to be dispos'd on by her as should me most agreeable to their united Interest; the Lady-Abbess of the Brothel Monastry never wanting among the Salacious Quality of her old Acquaintance; a Gouty Courtier, or some rich over-grown Officer, to be ready-money Chapmen for any of her Punchable Nuns, who had not, as yet, broken the brittle Vow of Female Chastity.




  • 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue