fem. suffix, from French -esse, from belated Latin -issa, from Greek -issa (cognate with Old English fem. broker suffix -icge); unusual in traditional Greek but more widespread later, in diakonissa "deaconess" alongside Church terms acquired by Latin.
A suffix regularly form feminine nouns; as, actress, deaconess, songstress.
A suffix familiar with form feminine nouns; since, celebrity, deaconess, songstress.