female

adjective
fe·​male | \ ˈfē-ˌmāl How to pronounce female (audio) \

Definition of female

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce eggs In a field of milkweed, I watched a female monarch butterfly deposit a single egg on the underside of a leaf.— Tom Tyning A few months later, she became the highest paid female performer on the Great White Way.— Susannah McCorkle
(2) : having or producing only pistils or pistillate flowers a female holly female inflorescences
b : made up of usually adult members of the female sex : consisting of females the female workforce
c : characteristic of girls, women, or the female sex : exhibiting femaleness composed for female voices a female name
d : designed for or typically used by girls or women a female glove
e : engaged in or exercised by girls or women female suffrage
2 : having some quality (such as small size or delicacy of sound) associated with the female sex female castanets
3 : designed with a hollow or groove into which a corresponding male part fits the female coupling of a hose

female

noun

Definition of female (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a female person : a woman or a girl
b : an individual of the sex that is typically capable of bearing young or producing eggs
2 : a pistillate plant

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Other Words from female

Adjective

femaleness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for female

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Did You Know?

In the 14th century, female appeared in English with such spellings as femel, femelle, and female. The word comes from the Latin femella, meaning “young woman, girl,” which in turn is based on femina, meaning “woman.” In English, the similarity in form and sound between the words female and male led people to use only the female spelling. This closeness also led to the belief that female comes from or is somehow related to male. However, apart from the influence of male on the modern spelling of female, there is no link between the origins of the two words.

Examples of female in a Sentence

Adjective Most extension cords have a male plug on one end and a female plug on the other. female standards of housekeeping imposed by the women at the vacation cottage weren't especially popular with the men Noun She attended a school where there were more males than females. Females of this species weigh 8 to 10 pounds.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Three past and present female students who said they were raped by fellow students all describe a story of abandonment by officials during that time. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Baylor’s Handling of Rape Cases Still Follows Ken Starr," 19 Jan. 2020 Martinez is accused of inappropriately touching two of his female students while on campus in December 2019. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Spring ISD teacher charged with indecency with a child, suspended without pay," 17 Jan. 2020 The photo in question depicts what appears to be a female student in a green, St. Gertrude’s High School (SGHS) logo top, holding a brown complexion mask over her face. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Virginia Catholic School Responds To Student's Racist Snapchat," 16 Jan. 2020 The victim was a female student who turned 20 this week, police said. David K. Li, NBC News, "Woman's crew team member from Holy Cross in Massachusetts killed in Florida crash," 15 Jan. 2020 Wilson accused Catlin Gabel administrators of doing little if anything about Shoemaker despite the complaints of 23 different female students over the years. oregonlive, "Former Catlin Gabel student says math teacher groped her 80 times, seeks $4.5 million in damages," 13 Jan. 2020 After blocking their path for nearly two hours, the students eventually marched on to the local police station to file a complaint against the officers who had beaten the female students. Fox News, "Violent clashes erupt in India following vicious weekend attack on students, women," 8 Jan. 2020 The men were referring to the violent attack earlier on female students inside the campus. Rana Ayyub, Time, "I Saw Police Stand by As Masked Men Attacked Students at a Top Delhi University. It Was Yet Another Assault on India's Intellectuals," 8 Jan. 2020 The Clarksville resident’s idea was small at first: to teach female middle school students coding after school. Jess Nocera, baltimoresun.com, "River Hill student’s all-female coding nonprofit reaches from Howard County to Morocco," 4 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Another also won the women’s NCAA DII national championship last May. Idaho is not the first state to attempt legislation aimed at limiting participation in women's sports to biological females. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Idaho lawmaker to propose bill preventing biological males from competing on female sports teams," 21 Jan. 2020 From Queens is just as much a family sitcom as a broke-millennial-female-stoner comedy. Judy Berman, Time, "Awkwafina Takes the Asian-American Entertainment Renaissance to New Heights in Nora From Queens," 16 Jan. 2020 At least five white females were rejected by the defense team. Lauren Del Valle, CNN, "7 jurors chosen for Weinstein trial: Prosecution accuses defense of eliminating white female jurors," 16 Jan. 2020 However, women's groups, including the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), an umbrella group of Catholic nuns, have long called on the pope to appoint more females to senior jobs within the Vatican bureaucracy. NBC News, "Pope Francis names first woman to senior Vatican diplomatic post," 15 Jan. 2020 The closure of the program means 15 of the breeding adult tortoises -- 12 females and 3 males -- will be allowed to return to their natural habitat, the first time that's happened since the mid-1960s, the release said. Fox News, "Diego the tortoise retires, high sex drive credited with helping to save his species in the Galapagos, conservancy says," 13 Jan. 2020 The 25 and 27-year-old females suspects were booked into the MVPD jail. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 13 Jan. 2020 For the first time, the three-member Hamilton County Board of Commissioners is all-female and majority black. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "Democrats choose Todd Portune's successor in historic vote making county commission all-female," 11 Jan. 2020 On average, male Steller sea lions weigh a whopping 1,200 pounds, while females average in at around 580 pounds. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Sea Lions Steal Small Vessel, Don't Care at All," 3 Jan. 2020

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

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First Known Use of female

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for female

Noun

Middle English, alteration of femel, femelle, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French femele, from Medieval Latin femella, from Latin, girl, diminutive of femina

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Time Traveler for female

Time Traveler

The first known use of female was in the 14th century

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Statistics for female

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Female.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/female. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for female

female

adjective
How to pronounce female (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of female

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to the sex that can produce young or lay eggs
: characteristic of girls or women
: having members who are all girls or women

female

noun

English Language Learners Definition of female (Entry 2 of 2)

: a woman or a girl : a female person
: an animal that can produce young or lay eggs : a female animal
: a plant that can produce seed or fruit : a female plant

female

adjective
fe·​male | \ ˈfē-ˌmāl How to pronounce female (audio) \

Kids Definition of female

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being the sex that bears young or lays eggs
2 : having a pistil but no stamens a female plant
3 : of or characteristic of women or girls

female

noun

Kids Definition of female (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a woman or a girl
2 : a person or animal that can bear young or lay eggs
3 : a plant with a pistil but no stamens

female

noun
fe·​male | \ ˈfē-ˌmāl How to pronounce female (audio) \

Medical Definition of female

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an individual that bears young or produces eggs as distinguished from one that produces sperm especially : a woman or girl as distinguished from a man or boy

female

adjective

Medical Definition of female (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or being the sex that bears young or produces eggs

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Comments on female

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