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[ak-tris] /ˈæk trɪs/
a woman who acts in stage plays, motion pictures, television broadcasts, etc., especially professionally.
Origin of actress
1580-90; act(o)r + -ess
Usage note
See -ess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for actress
  • His marriage with an actress estranged him from his family, and after this event his life was that of a wastrel.
  • Which is a little strange given the fact that she is an actress.
  • She is a terrific actress, not at all afraid to take her clothes off and put herself on the line.
  • She's not an actress or a singer or a misbehaving heiress to a hotel fortune.
  • There may be a surprise too in the best supporting actress category.
  • She was never a fine actress, but she was always a presence.
  • It is the rare actress who can manage to be so seductive or sultry as this scene.
  • In fact, there are numerous examples of these mom roles also paying tribute to the actress's legacy.
  • Her guest appearance highlights her strengths as an actress-humor and quirkiness.
  • When the actress calls, she lies to her and tells her she will deliver the sculpture tomorrow.
British Dictionary definitions for actress


a woman who acts in a play, film, broadcast, etc
(informal) a woman who puts on a false manner in order to deceive others
Usage note
Use of the word actress to refer to a female who acts is old-fashioned. The modern gender-neutral form is actor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for actress

1580s, "female who does something;" see actor + -ess; stage sense is from 1700. Sometimes French actrice was used.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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