(Greek -issa > Late Latin -issa > Old French -esse > Middle English -esse: a suffix that forms nouns meaning a female +++, as in lioness, tigress, heiress, hostess, and sculptress)
When -ess is added to a noun ending in -tor, -ter, the vowel before r is generally elided (eliminated or left out), as in actress (actor + -ess); and such a derivative with the ending -tress (often equivalent to French
In Middle English many words in -esse were adopted from French; such as, countess, duchess, mistress, and princess, or formed on nouns in -er; such as, enchantress and sorceress.
The suffix -ess is diminishing from English usage, with trends or tendencies toward avoiding any unnecessary references to gender or sexual categorizing (feminine or masculine.
The suffixes -er and -or are no longer gender-specific in modern English: an author or manager, like a doctor or writer, may be male or female, so the words authoress and manageress are considered redundant.
Some -ess words remain in use; for example, heiress and actress, although actor is being used more often now for both men and women.
2. A woman or girl who pretends to be someone else: Ruth at school turned out to be a real actress, trying to assume by her conduct to be a very affluent person.
2. A woman of questionable reputation or character who seeks personal advancement; demirep: Mary knew of a woman who aimed for personal advancement in her job by means of sexual activity with her boss.
3. A female varietist: There was a rumour going around in the neighbourhood that one of the wives was an adventuress who had sexual relationships with other men, and not only with her husband!
2. A woman who holds the rank of count or earl.
A reference to a female who creates something.
2. A mythological being who is half woman and half goddess.
3. A female being, often the offspring of a god and a mortal, who has some but not all of the powers of a goddess.