1. A woman who receives or entertains guests in a social or official capacity.
2. A woman who manages an inn or hotel.
3. A woman who is the emcee or interviewer on a radio or television program.
4. A woman who is employed to greet and assist patrons, as in a restaurant.
5. A woman who is employed to dance with customers in a dance hall or nightclub. See Usage Note at -ess.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.