female

adjective
fe·male | \ˈfē-ˌmāl \

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, 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

Daniels smacked that female officer’s face with her breasts, according to the affidavit. Marilyn Icsman, Cincinnati.com, "Stormy Daniels: Her crazy 48 hours in Ohio," 13 July 2018 Off the pitch, female reporters have been victims of sexism. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, "FIFA wants fewer TV shots of 'hot' female fans in bid to tackle sexism in soccer," 13 July 2018 Grace and Frankie is a female revenge fantasy, in which friendship and dildos are the methods of choice. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "9 Emmy-Nominated Shows You Can Binge to Escape Reality," 13 July 2018 In 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy left a party with a female companion. Guy Hanford, Ramona Sentinel, "Flickers," 12 July 2018 Brewed specifically for International Women’s Day with a hop blend from the Pink Boots Society, a club of female brewers, this New England IPA carries smelling notes of orange blossom and peaches. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "These 15 Sacramento-area beers have the cleverest names of any released in 2018," 12 July 2018 The National The headlining rock band's long set Saturday showed off their chops and featured guest female artists at the festival. Samantha West, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eaux Claires recap: The best and worst of the indie festival in its 4th year," 8 July 2018 Police called the sting, which involved multiple undercover officers, both male and female, a routine operation. Elizabeth Chuck /, NBC News, "Stormy Daniels dances at another Ohio club night after arrest," 13 July 2018 In a March study, a male and female professor taught identical online courses at Texas Tech University. Alfred Lubrano, Philly.com, "After complaints, Ratemyprofessors.com does away with its 'hotness' ratings," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the hippo harem lifestyle means that females stay close to home. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "A Look at the Inner Lives of 13 Species of Animals You Think You Know," 13 July 2018 One female was treated and released from the hospital, while another sustained a minor injury during a targeted invasion early Tuesday, Milton police said in a release responding to requests by The Associated Press. CBS News, "Woman assaulted at home of Buffalo Bills player LeSean McCoy, police say," 10 July 2018 One female was treated and released from the hospital, while another sustained a minor injury during a targeted invasion early Tuesday, Milton police said in a release responding to requests by The Associated Press. John Wawrow, The Seattle Times, "Police: Woman assaulted at home of NFL star LeSean McCoy," 10 July 2018 Witnesses reported seeing an adult female pedestrian in the road, police said. Kelsey Mo, azcentral, "Pedestrian 'extremely critical' after car crash in Phoenix," 29 June 2018 In addition, an unmarried young woman didn’t go out without a chaperone, usually an older female relative. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Wheel, the Woman, and the Human Body," 6 July 2018 Seven of every 100 persons injured by fireworks are hospitalized, approximately 40 percent of those injured are children under 14 years old, and males are injured three times more often than females. Frank Abderholden, Lake County News-Sun, "Safety organizations, police urge caution on roads and waterways as Fourth of July approaches," 29 June 2018 One of the major stories of this month’s MLB draft was made of Luke Heimlich, an Oregon State pitcher who had been convicted, back in 2012, of molesting his 6-year-old female relative. Will Leitch, Daily Intelligencer, "The Sports World Needs Its #MeToo Moment," 27 June 2018 The fallout of this focus on females is reflected in vaccination rates. Ashley Andreou, STAT, "New Gardasil ad campaign gets it (mostly) right. It shouldn’t have taken a decade," 18 June 2018

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

2 Oct 2018

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 \

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 \

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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