Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • pro. Used to refer to the woman or girl previously mentioned or implied. See Usage Note at I1.
  • pro. Used to refer to a female animal.
  • pro. Used in place of it to refer to certain inanimate things, such as ships and nations, traditionally perceived as female: "The sea is mother-death and she is a mighty female” ( Anne Sexton).
  • n. A female animal or person: Is the cat a she?

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • pro. A female person or animal.
  • pro. A ship or country.
  • pro. Machinery such as cars and steam engines.
  • pro. he/she. used arbitrarily with he for an indefinite person in order to be gender-neutral.
  • n. A female.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pro. This or that female; the woman understood or referred to; the animal of the female sex, or object personified as feminine, which was spoken of.
  • pro. A woman; a female; -- used substantively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 3d pers. fem., possessive her or hers, objective her; nom. pl. they, possessive their or theirs, objective them. The nominative feminine of the pronoun of the third person, used as a substitute for the name of a female, or of something personified in the feminine. Compare he, especially for the forms her, hers.
  • She is often used by people of small education or of comparatively secluded lives for the female that is chief in importance to the speaker, especially a wife; in this case it has a peculiar emphasis, separating the person referred to from all other women: as, “Sit down, she 'll be here in a minute.” Compare the similar use of he.
  • She was formerly and is still dialectally sometimes used as an indeclinable form.
  • In the English of the Scotch Highlanders she is commonly used for he; so her for his.
  • n. A female person; a woman: correlative to he, a man.
  • n. A female animal; a beast, bird, or fish of the female sex: correlative to he, a male animal: hence used attributively or as an adjective prefix, signifying ‘female,’ with names of animals, or, in occasional or humorous use, of other beings: as, a she-bear, a she-cat, a she-devil, etc. See he, n., 2.

Etymologies

Middle English, probably alteration of Old English sēo, feminine demonstrative pron.; see so- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English sche, hye ("she"), from earlier scho, hyo, ȝho ("she"), a phonetic development of Old English hēo, hīo ("she"), from Proto-Germanic *hijō (“this, this one”), from Proto-Indo-European *k'e-, *k'ey- (“this, here”). Cognate with English dialectal hoo ("she"), Scots scho, shu ("she"), West Frisian hja ("she"), North Frisian  ("she"), Danish hun ("she"), Swedish hon ("she"). More at he. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "She's figured out
    All her doubts were someone else's point of view
    Waking up this time
    To smash the silence with the brick of self-control"

    August 29, 2008

  • Hahaha! Amazing...I didn't even see it coming.

    July 11, 2008

  • "Sorry I couldn't come to the party. Dad and That wouldn't let me."

    July 11, 2008

  • I think I'll start calling my mother that.

    July 11, 2008

  • Mmn, schlocklist sounds like it has some relation to chocolate. (Dontcry, eerie that you'd say that now!)

    July 11, 2008

  • I don't know, bilby--a schlock list has a lot of appeal. Go for it!

    July 11, 2008

  • "She Who Must Be Obeyed..." - that's what we call my mother!

    *rock, rock, rock.*

    July 11, 2008

  • I was going to say we could do a Schlock list, but most of mine are anyway :-(

    July 11, 2008

  • Oh, I do like pre-1940s schlock! And 1940s schlock (mostly Betty Grable musicals). She was just the product of deciding against using anything I might get tired of and going for the first word I half-wondered may not've been taken. I'm sure there are all sorts of nice little words wandering around with no claimants..

    July 11, 2008

  • Great movie, too--if you like pre-1940s schlock. "She Who Must Be Obeyed..."

    July 10, 2008

  • One of the reasons why I appreciated your username is that you thought of it while signing up. So simple, and still...

    July 10, 2008

  • She is, she is (a she. Is me)! Such a sticky nickname (stickinick? ..baskets?) from such a little pronoun.

    July 10, 2008

  • she may not be a her. We dunno.

    July 7, 2008

  • sHE

    May 2, 2008