Female brothel keeper. A Madame.

Etymology: Victorian underworld slang. An abbess (Latin abbatissa, fem. form of abbas, abbot) is the female superior, or Mother Superior, of an abbey or convent of nuns. Since the Elizabethan era, nun has been slang for a prostitute (ref. William Faulkner, "Requiem for a Nun"), and a nunnery referred to a brothel.
"Polly Adler, in her memoir 'A House is Not a Home,' tells of her time as the abbess of the Big Town's poshest nunnery."

Walter Winchell, 1953
by Twathenge April 10, 2006

Free Daily Email

Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!

Emails are sent from daily@urbandictionary.com. We'll never spam you.

×