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

feminine, womanish, womanlike, womanly

Synonyms: Noun

lady, skirt [slang], woman

Antonyms: Adjective

unfeminine, unwomanly

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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

Should no viable female candidate emerge for the position, a male candidate could be Suma Chakrabarti, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "U.S. Contemplates Appointing First Female President of World Bank," 24 Jan. 2019 Only last month it was reported that Amazon had to scrap an internal recruiting tool trained using machine learning because it was biased against female candidates. James Vincent, The Verge, "Google removes gendered pronouns from Gmail’s Smart Compose to avoid AI bias," 27 Nov. 2018 Pomellato has since been known as a woman’s brand: 75% of the Milanese jeweler’s workforce is female, and the vast majority of its clientele are women buying jewels for themselves. The Editors, Town & Country, "All About Town & Country's 2019 Philanthropy Summit," 16 Apr. 2019 Democrats fare far better, but that still means that only 30 percent of the Georgia General Assembly is female. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Georgia's Six-Week Abortion Ban Claims to "Value Life"," 4 Apr. 2019 The winning male and female runners will win $7,000 each, up from $4,000 last year. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Thanksgiving is now the most popular race day in America.," 20 Nov. 2018 And yes, male and female were once again the only available genders. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Outdated Gender Norms You Encounter When Booking Your Plane Ticket," 27 Sep. 2018 Men in my family had a way of teaching me about masculinity that was more about making fun of or degrading things that were stereotypically female — still do. Thomas Page Mcbee, Teen Vogue, "Kendrick Sampson on Masculinity, Race, and Why Men Should Be More Vulnerable," 26 Mar. 2019 If girls are exposed to strong, female STEM role models, a career in these fields will seem as attractive and attainable as any other. Shannon Willoby, Redbook, "Why Girls Need More Mentors in STEM," 8 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Dove played not one but TWO leads in Disney's Liv and Maddie, as well as the lead female in Descendants, the third of which is coming out this summer. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Dove Cameron's Net Worth is Hefty Thanks to All of Her Work for Disney," 27 Mar. 2019 When that happens, the beetles transfer to the female. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "How Horror Beetles Hitchhike on Bees And Then Eat Their Young," 12 Sep. 2018 Real tick eggs are so teeny-tiny, the entire batch is only as big as two adult female ticks. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "That Viral Photo of a “Tick Nest” Is a Hoax, According to an Entomologist," 18 Apr. 2019 Students who identify as women but were born male cannot enroll, however, and anyone who transitions from male to female will not be automatically eligible to receive a degree from the institution. Errin Haines Whack, The Seattle Times, "Morehouse College to admit transgender men starting in 2020," 14 Apr. 2019 Sunday's statement reads: Using male pythons with radio transmitters allows the team to track the male to locate breeding females. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Capture the Biggest Snake Ever Found in the Florida Everglades," 8 Apr. 2019 The adult female bear was killed and the 2-year-old cub was wounded and had to be put down. Fox News, "Hunter in Montana kills grizzly bear, injures cub in self-defense, officials say," 28 Sep. 2018 Rather poignant and intense is also the work of Tomaso Binga, a pseudonym chosen in 1971 by the Roman artist Bianca Pucciarelli to take a strong stance against the art world, where male codes have to be obliged for females to succeed. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, "In Milan, A New Exhibition Celebrates Italian Feminist Artists of the 1970s," 5 Apr. 2019 That would reduce mosquito bites in the short term — only females bite — and open the door to shrinking wild populations through genetic engineering. Malcolm Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Science Says: Why scientists prize plant, animal genomes," 3 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for female

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for female

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

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More Definitions for female

female

adjective

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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More from Merriam-Webster on female

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with female

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for female

Spanish Central: Translation of female

Nglish: Translation of female for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of female for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about female

Comments on female

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