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Also ‑ienne.

Nouns denoting females.

French feminine ending ‑enne.

Such words are formed as the female equivalents of nouns in ‑ian, or sometimes ‑an. A small group exists: comedienne (a female comedian), tragedienne (an actress who specializes in tragic roles, the feminine form of tragedian), equestrienne (a woman horse rider), doyenne (a woman who is the most respected or prominent in a particular field, the female equivalent of doyen). However, the feminine forms of other words in ‑ian do not exist—there is no equivalent to pedestrian or thespian, for example. As a result of changing views about gender equality, the masculine forms of these words now often do service for both men and women, though only comedienne is common in any case. See also ‑ess, ‑ette, ‑stress, and ‑trix.

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