Smith's Bible Dictionary
Deaconess. The word diakonos is found in Romans 16:1, (Authorized Version, "servant"), associated with a female name, and this has led to the conclusion that there existed, in the apostolic age, as there, undoubtedly, did a little later, an order of women bearing that title, and exercising in relation to their own sex, functions which were analogous to those of the deacons.
On this hypothesis, it has been inferred that the women mentioned in Romans 16:6; Romans 16:12 belonged to such an order. The rules given as to the conduct of women in 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:3 have in like manner been referred to them, and they have been identified even with the "widows" of 1 Timothy 5:3-10.
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Smith, William, Dr. Entry for 'Deaconess'. Smith's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/sbd/d/deaconess.html. 1901.