poetess

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From poet +‎ -ess. Compare Middle English poetresse (poetess).

Noun[edit]

poetess (plural poetesses)

  1. (dated) A female poet.
    • 1830, Alfred Tennyson, “Leonine Elegiacs”, in Juvenilia:
      The ancient poetess singeth, that Hesperus all things bringeth, / Smoothing the wearied mind: bring me my love, Rosalind.

Usage notes[edit]

Poetess is rare in contemporary usage according to which both sexes are known normally as poets. The Latin term for a female poet was poētria, derived from the Ancient Greek ποιήτρια (poiḗtria), which still means “female poet” in Modern Greek. “Female poet” is the more usual modern translation where the gendered form in the original language is preserved.

Synonyms[edit]

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