I was looking up the Latin root for victim and victory, thinking if it was the same I could contemplate how these words could become so opposite in meaning. Webster said victim is from Lat. victima. Victory is Lat. victoria, victor. Close, but no cigar.
Then I spied victress: A woman who defeats an opponent. This word isn't used very often. I went on a hunt.
We use heiress but not huntress. Actress but not doctress. Baroness but not conductress. Why don't we use ambassadress? Aviatress? Adulteress? Why have some words that denote 'woman who does ....' fallen into disuse, and others stuck?
Will women reclaim these words in the future? Will we be happy with gender neutral descriptors: doctor, lawyer, banker, president?
What would an alternative universe be like if women had held power in the past and men were struggling for equality? Would they want to be doctresses?