A mistress is a female master — she's the one in control. The wardrobe mistress is in charge of costumes for a theater. At some schools, the head of the school is called the headmaster or headmistress.

A woman who has an illicit affair — that is, a sexual relationship with someone she's not married to — is also called a mistress. It’s a somewhat old-fashioned word — it’s one-sided, sexist, and often suggests financial support in exchange for sexual favors. On the other hand, history offers some fascinating examples, such the mistress of King Louis XV of France, Madame de Pompadour, renowned for her intelligence and charm.

Definitions of mistress

n an adulterous woman; a woman who has an ongoing extramarital sexual relationship with a man

fancy woman, kept woman
Eva Braun
the German mistress of Adolf Hitler (1910-1945)
(Old Testament) the Philistine mistress of Samson who betrayed him by cutting off his hair and so deprived him of his strength
concubine, courtesan, doxy, paramour
a woman who cohabits with an important man
a woman slave in a harem
Type of:
a significant other to whom you are not related by marriage
adult female, woman
an adult female person (as opposed to a man)

n a woman master who directs the work of others

the mistress of a chateau or large country house
Type of:
a person or firm that employs workers

n a woman schoolteacher (especially one regarded as strict)

schoolma'am, schoolmarm, schoolmistress
Type of:
school teacher, schoolteacher
a teacher in a school below the college level

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