The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Mistress \Mis"tress\, n. [OE. maistress, OF. maistresse, F.
ma[^i]tresse, LL. magistrissa, for L. magistra, fem. of
magister. See Master, Mister, and cf. Miss a young
1. A woman having power, authority, or ownership; a woman who
exercises authority, is chief, etc.; the female head of a
family, a school, etc.
The late queen's gentlewoman! a knight's daughter!
To be her mistress' mistress! --Shak.
2. A woman well skilled in anything, or having the mastery
A letter desires all young wives to make themselves
mistresses of Wingate's Arithmetic. --Addison.
3. A woman regarded with love and devotion; she who has
command over one's heart; a beloved object; a sweetheart.
4. A woman filling the place, but without the rights, of a
wife; a woman having an ongoing usually exclusive sexual
relationship with a man, who may provide her with
financial support in return; a concubine; a loose woman
with whom one consorts habitually; as, both his wife and
his mistress attended his funeral. --Spectator.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
5. A title of courtesy formerly prefixed to the name of a
woman, married or unmarried, but now superseded by the
contracted forms, Mrs., for a married, and Miss, for an
Now Mistress Gilpin (careful soul). --Cowper.
6. A married woman; a wife. [Scot.]
Several of the neighboring mistresses had assembled
to witness the event of this memorable evening.
7. The old name of the jack at bowls. --Beau. & Fl.
To be one's own mistress, to be exempt from control by