|Lion and Lioness|
The suffix -ess is interesting. When I was a boy, men who played roles on the stage were known as actors but women were known as actresses. Similarly, on buses men who sold tickets were known as conductors but women were conductresses.
Nowadays we are expected to refer to all members of the acting profession as actors. I don't know when this change happened but it is now as if the term "actress" is somehow demeaning whereas "actor" suggests gender equality.
It's the same with manager/manageress and poet/poetess. The feminine forms are becoming both archaic and taboo.
Are you with me so far?
Okay, now let's think about some other -ess words. The fellow who is second in line to the British throne is called Prince William. You may have heard of him. You may also have heard of his mother. She was called Princess Diana - not Prince Diana but Princess. I wonder when the politically correct police are going to turn princesses into princes.
Next I think of a lion in Africa lazily flicking his tail under a baobab tree. In his pride there are several lionesses. "Lioness" is of course the term we apply to females of that particular species. It is worth noting that the England women's national football team have happily adopted the nickname "The Lionesses".
Oh - and here's another one. If you are in a restaurant and a male member of the serving team approaches your table he is of course a waiter but when a woman approaches she is a waitress - not a waiter. Whereas "actress", "poetess" and "conductress" are apparently on their way out, "waitress", "princess" and "lioness" are alive and well in common English usage.
As Americans are sometimes wont to say - Go figure!