"one who engages in the chase of game or other wild animals," mid-13c. (attested in place names from late 12c.), from hunt + -er (1). The Old English word was hunta, Middle English hunte. The hunter's moon (1710) is the next full moon after the harvest moon.
fem. suffix, from French -esse, from Late Latin -issa, from Greek -issa (cognate with Old English fem. agent suffix -icge); rare in classical Greek but more common later, in diakonissa "deaconess" and other Church terms picked up by Latin.