female


female
female n Female, woman, lady are comparable when meaning a person and especially an adult who belongs to the sex that is the counterpart of the male sex.
Female (the correlative of male) emphasizes the idea of sex; it applies not only to human beings but also to animals and plants. Its ordinary use as a synonym for woman was once frequent
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three smart-looking femalesAusten

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to please the females of our modest ageByron

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but this use is now felt as derogatory or contemptuous except in strictly scientific or statistical application, where the term may be employed to designate a person of the female sex whether infant, child, adolescent, or adult
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the city's population included 12,115 males and 15,386 females

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As compared with woman (the correlative of man), which emphasizes the essential qualities of the adult female, lady (the correlative of gentleman) connotes basically the added qualities implicit in gentle breeding, gracious nature, and cultivated background. Woman is preferred by many whenever the reference is to the person merely as a person
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the country expects the help of its women

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the following women assisted in receiving the guests

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a woman of culture

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a saleswoman

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workingwomen

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society women

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Lady, on the other hand, is preferred when exalted social position or refinement and delicacy are definitely implied
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Alfonso XI at his death left one legitimate son . . . and five bastards by a lady of Seville, Doña Leonor de Guzman— Altamira y Crevea

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Miss Nancy . . . had the essential attributes of a lady—high veracity, delicate honor in her dealings, deference to others, and refined personal habits— George Eliot

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but lady may also be used informally as a mere courteous synonym for woman
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please allow these ladies to pass

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the ladies were the decisive factor in rolling up the Republican landslide— Priest

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may I speak to the lady of the house?

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though its indiscriminate substitution for woman (as in wash lady, sales lady) carries courtesy into travesty
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from that hour to this, the Gazette has referred to all females as women except that police-court characters were always to be designated as ladiesWhite

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female adj Female, feminine, womanly, womanlike, womanish, effeminate, ladylike are comparable when meaning of, characteristic of, or like a female especially of the human species.
Female (opposed to male) applies to animals and plants as well as to human beings and stresses the fact of sex
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the female bee— Milton

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female children were excluded from inheritance

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Feminine (opposed to masculine) alone of these words may imply grammatical gender
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feminine nouns and pronouns

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but it characteristically applies to features, attributes, or qualities which belong to women rather than to men; it has practically displaced all except the more strictly physiological senses of female
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her heavenly form angelic, but more soft and feminineMilton

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the domestic virtues, which are especially feminineLecky

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the strangely feminine jealousies and religiousness— Steinbeck

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Womanly (often opposed to girlish or, from another point of view, to manly) is used to qualify whatever evidences the qualities of a fully developed woman
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womanly virtues

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It often specifically suggests qualities (as tenderness, sympathy, moral strength, and fortitude) which especially befit a woman and make her attractive especially in her functions as a wife and mother, or it may merely suggest the absence of such mannish qualities as aggressiveness
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'twas just a womanly presence, an influence unexpressed— J. R. Lowell

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all will spy in thy face a blushing, womanly, discovering grace— Donne

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Womanlike (opposed to manlike) is more apt to suggest characteristically feminine faults or foibles (womanlike, taking revenge too deep for a transient wrong done but in thought to your beauty— Tennyson)
Womanish (compare mannish, childish) is a term of contempt, especially when applied to what should be virile or masculine
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art thou a man? Thy form cries out thou art; thy tears are womanishShak.

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womanish or wailing grief— Cowper

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Effeminate emphasizes the idea of unmanly delicacy, lux- uriousness, or enervation
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a woman impudent and mannish grown is not more loathed than an effeminate man in time of action— Shak.

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an effeminate and unmanly foppery— Hurd

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something feminine—not effeminate, mind—is discoverable in the countenances of all men of genius— Coleridge

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Ladylike is sometimes used sarcastically, especially of men, to imply a dainty and finical affectation of the proprieties
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fops at all corners, ladylike in mien— Co wper

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that ladylike quality which is the curse of Southern literature— Leech

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As applied to girls and women or to their conduct, habits, or manners, ladylike implies conformity to a standard appropriate to a lady
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your daughter may be better paid, better dressed, more gently spoken, more ladylike than you were in the old mill— Shaw

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Antonyms: male
Contrasted words: masculine, manly, manlike, manful, mannish, virile (see MALE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Female — (♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces ova (egg cells). The ova are defined as the larger gametes in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the smaller, usually motile gamete, the spermatozoon, is produced by… …   Wikipedia

  • Female — Fe male, a. 1. Belonging to the sex which conceives and gives birth to young, or (in a wider sense) which produces ova; not male. [1913 Webster] As patient as the female dove When that her golden couplets are disclosed. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • female — female, feminine 1. general. Female is used as an adjective, contrasting with the etymologically unrelated word male, to designate the sex of humans and animals that can bear offspring and to designate plants that are fruit bearing. Feminine is… …   Modern English usage

  • female — Ⅰ. female UK US /ˈfiːmeɪl/ adjective ► belonging or relating to women: »The percentage of female managers in industry has doubled in five years. ► used to describe a piece of equipment that has a hole or space into which another part can be… …   Financial and business terms

  • female — (n.) early 14c., from O.Fr. femelle (12c.) woman, female, from M.L. femella a female, from L. femella young female, girl, dim. of femina woman (see FEMININE (Cf. feminine)). Sense extended in V.L. from humans to female of other animals. Spelling… …   Etymology dictionary

  • female — [fē′māl΄] adj. [ME, altered after MALE < femelle < OFr < L femella, dim. of femina, a woman < IE base * dhē , to suck, suckle > L felare, to suck, filius, son, fetus, progeny, Gr thēlazein, to suckle, thele, nipple] 1. designating… …   English World dictionary

  • female — ► ADJECTIVE 1) referring to the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs. 2) relating to or characteristic of women or female animals. 3) (of a plant or flower) having a pistil but no stamens. 4) (of a fitting) manufactured hollow so that a… …   English terms dictionary

  • Female — Fe male, n. [OE. femel, femal, F. femelle, fr. L. femella, dim. of femina woman. See {Feminine}.] 1. An individual of the sex which conceives and brings forth young, or (in a wider sense) which has an ovary and produces ova. [1913 Webster] The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • female — [adj] having the qualities or characteristics of a woman effeminate, fecund, feminine, fertile, maternal, muliebrous, womanish, womanly; concepts 371,408 Ant. male, masculine female [n] woman daughter, femme, gal, gentlewoman, girl, grandmother,… …   New thesaurus

  • female — female. См. самка. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.


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