Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to women or girls.
  • adjective Characterized by or possessing qualities traditionally attributed to women, such as demureness.
  • adjective Effeminate; womanish.
  • adjective Grammar Relating or belonging to the gender of words or forms that refer chiefly to females or to things grammatically classified as female.
  • noun The feminine gender.
  • noun A word or form belonging to the feminine gender.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to a woman or to women, or to the (human) female sex; having the distinguishing characters or nature of that sex; having qualities especially characteristic of woman.
  • Effeminate; destitute of manly qualities.
  • In grammar, of the gender or classification under which are included words which apply to females only: said of words or terminations.
  • Synonyms Female, Feminine, Effeminate, Womanish, Womanly, Ladylike; soft, tender, delicate. Female applies to women and their apparel, to the corresponding sex in animals, and by figure to some inanimate things: feminine, to women and their attributes, to the second grammatical gender; effeminate, only to men. Female applies to that which distinctively belongs to woman; feminine, commonly, to the softer, more delicate or graceful qualities of woman, the qualities being always natural and commendable: as, feminine grace; effeminate, to qualities which, though they might be proper and becoming in a woman, are unmanly and weak in a man; womanish, to that which is weak in woman, or weakly like women in men: as, womanish tears; womanly, to that which is nobly becoming in a woman; ladylike, to that which is refined and well-bred in woman.
  • noun A female; the female sex.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to a woman, or to women; characteristic of a woman; womanish; womanly.
  • adjective Having the qualities of a woman; becoming or appropriate to the female sex; as, in a good sense, modest, graceful, affectionate, confiding; or, in a bad sense, weak, nerveless, timid, pleasure-loving, effeminate.
  • adjective (Pros.) See Female rhyme, under Female, a.
  • noun Obs. or Colloq. A woman.
  • noun (Gram.) Any one of those words which are the appellations of females, or which have the terminations usually found in such words; as, actress, songstress, abbess, executrix.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of the female sex; biologically female, not male, womanly.
  • adjective Belonging to females; appropriated to, or used by, females.
  • adjective Having the qualities associated with a woman or the female gender; suitable to, or characteristic of, a woman; nurturing; not masculine or aggressive.
  • adjective grammar Grammatical gender distinction in languages that describes nouns including those pertaining to females and objects that are assigned the feminine gender.
  • adverb Of or pertaining to woman.
  • adverb Having the qualities of a woman.
  • noun The female principle
  • noun A woman.
  • noun grammar Any one of those words which are the appellations of females, or which have the terminations usually found in such words; as, actress, songstress, abbess, executrix.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective (music or poetry) ending on an unaccented beat or syllable
  • adjective of grammatical gender
  • adjective associated with women and not with men
  • adjective befitting or characteristic of a woman especially a mature woman
  • noun a gender that refers chiefly (but not exclusively) to females or to objects classified as female

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fēminīnus, from fēmina, woman; see dhē(i)- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French feminin, from Latin fēminīnus, from fēmina ("woman"), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₁-m̥n-eh₂ (“who sucks”). Related to fetus, feminism, filial, fellatio.

Examples

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