ef·​fem·​i·​nate | \ ə-ˈfe-mə-nət How to pronounce effeminate (audio) \

Definition of effeminate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having feminine qualities untypical of a man : not manly in appearance or manner
2 : marked by an unbecoming delicacy or overrefinement effeminate art an effeminate civilization



Definition of effeminate (Entry 2 of 2)

: an effeminate person

Synonyms & Antonyms for effeminate

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of effeminate in a Sentence

Adjective He had a high and somewhat effeminate voice. a comedian deliberately affecting effeminate mannerisms
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective American culture was brilliantly exposed — and neutered — through an effeminate homosexual artist’s application of drag. Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 From an early age, I was considered by other cisgender males of my age to be effeminate. Marc Jacobs, Vogue, 13 June 2022 Last year, this manifested itself in sudden and disruptive bans on online tutoring, campaigns against effeminate celebrities, on-and-off restrictions on burning coal and regulatory assaults on consumer Internet companies. Greg Ip, WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 Smit-McPhee grew up in Melbourne not always fitting among the sporty boys at his school, a heterosexual young man with conspicuously effeminate traits. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, 22 Nov. 2021 Soon after moving in together, Rose finds an unexpected adversary in George's lonely, jealous brother, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), who casually taunts and torments her and her effeminate teenage son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2021 Last Thursday, China’s National Radio and Television Administration announced that Chinese media should stop effeminate male celebrities as well as celebrities who are not politically vocal from appearing on television. Hakyung Kate Lee, ABC News, 13 Sep. 2021 Later in the season, the show introduces Rahim, a gay student from an Iranian Muslim family, who is more outwardly effeminate than Victor or Benji. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, 11 June 2021 Her father, eager to change his effeminate child’s ways, would drag the child to boxing matches. Frances Robles, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Archie is not pleased when son-in-law Michael and daughter Gloria invite their effeminate — but, as Michael says, not gay — friend for lunch. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 23 June 2022 Some of the reasons include stigma, shame and being perceived as effeminate. Sean Loughran, Washington Post, 27 May 2022 As the effeminate, rangy Peter, 25-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee taps into a rich vein of mystery. Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2022 Experts have said that Asian men, in particular, must deal with emasculation, or being cast as effeminate and weak. NBC News, 4 Feb. 2022 Yet Grindr's disappearance in China may be also linked to Beijing's ongoing push to encourage 'traditional' family values and discourage 'effeminate' and 'sissy' men as the country grapples with a demographic crisis. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2022 For Campion, the film’s key dynamic is between Phil and Rose’s effeminate son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) — the former constantly terrorizing the latter. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2021 As the story unfolds, Phil’s disdain for Rose and her effeminate son drive Rose to drink. Marc Malkin, Variety, 13 Nov. 2021 Why is Phil so cruel to the effeminate, slender young man? Kyle Smith, National Review, 7 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'effeminate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of effeminate


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for effeminate


Middle English, from Latin effeminatus, from past participle of effeminare to make effeminate, from ex- + femina woman — more at feminine

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The first known use of effeminate was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Effeminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effeminate. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on effeminate

Nglish: Translation of effeminate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of effeminate for Arabic Speakers


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