According to dictionary.com the definition of warrior is:

  1. a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier.

  2. a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.

I see that the noun, person, is used, rather than a particular gender; it is neutral case. But then I see a movie entitled "Warrioress." Obviously it is about a female displaying martial prowess.

Regarding the movie title specifically, is warrioress (changing a neutral case word into a feminine case word) a real word?

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    Warrioress : a female warrior. thefreedictionary.com/Warrioress – user66974 Aug 10 '15 at 9:39
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    The term has probably been made more popular by movies and epic stories in recent decades : books.google.com/ngrams/… – user66974 Aug 10 '15 at 9:48
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    The (previously, at least) more common term would be "Amazon". – Hot Licks Aug 10 '15 at 11:12
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    The question "is X a real world" is ... an incorrect or at least imprecise question. There simply is no final arbiter of word or spelling popularity. – Fattie Aug 10 '15 at 12:50
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    You have a male and a female variant and default to male form, as allegedly evidenced by the Parliament Interpretation Act of 1850 (showing entrenchment in law), default to male form. This is likely since historical gender roles made it more likely for men to encounter other men during the course of their careers, especially in battle. Webster's 1828 & 1913 dictionaries both list warrior specifically as a man and warrioress as a woman. – Tonepoet Aug 10 '15 at 15:51

It's in the OED, it has citations back to the 16th century:

1594 R. Carew tr. Tasso Godfrey of Bulloigne iii. 110 Now to the combat had this warriouresse Plighted her selfe.

1596 Spenser Second Pt. Faerie Queene v. vii. sig. S2, Eftsoones that warriouresse with haughty crest Did forth issue, all ready for the fight.

It has also been used (rarely) for the last two centuries, so it's not obsolete. I think it counts as a word.


By the looks of it, it doesn't seem to be widely recognised as a word. However, Merriam-Webster acknowledges it:


a female warrior

(It may be worth pointing out that Internet Explorer's spellchecker underlined "warrioress" as incorrect, suggesting the much more common "warrior".)

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    please, don't use Internet Explorer for truth in any regard! – zonabi Aug 10 '15 at 18:05
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    @zonabi I agree, IE 6 to IE 8 were bad, but IE 9 and above are actually decent browsers! The problem is people won't give IE a second chance. (And before you turn this into a war, I also use Chrome, Edge and Firefox.) – Dog Lover Aug 10 '15 at 22:15

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