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) botany : having or producing only pistils or pistillate flowers a female holly female inflorescences
b : having a gender identity that is the opposite of male
c : made up of usually adult members of the female sex : consisting of females the female workforce
d : characteristic of girls, women, or the female sex : exhibiting femaleness composed for female voices a female name
e : designed for or typically used by girls or women a female glove
f : engaged in or exercised by girls or women female suffrage female political power
g : having a quality (such as small size or delicacy of sound) sometimes associated with the female sex female castanets
2 of a rhyme : having an unstressed final syllable : feminine sense 4b a female rhyme
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 Puccini and her teammates, contending female athletes are underrepresented at the university, asked for a temporary injunction to stop Iowa from eliminating women’s swimming. Matt Le Cren, chicagotribune.com, "Naperville Central’s Alexa Puccini announces ‘backup plan’ of transferring to Arizona while pursuing lawsuit against Iowa," 28 Dec. 2020 The reports, which were obtained by USA TODAY, included varying allegations, including that Escobedo had stolen money from clients, mistreated employees and acted inappropriately toward female athletes. USA Today, "Help USA TODAY investigate misconduct in cheerleading," 23 Dec. 2020 While being open and accepted for their sexuality has gotten better in recent years for LBGTQ female athletes, gay male athletes still largely remain on an island, with few role models and no public community of support. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "He came out to his team before Stanford cut his sport. Now he mourns a lost family," 22 Dec. 2020 In proposing the Protect Women’s Sports Act, Gabbard and Mullin recognize the urgent need for legal protections for female athletes. The Editors, National Review, "Tulsi Gabbard Stands Up for Women’s Sports," 19 Dec. 2020 Considering how women have embraced the surge in dark, realistic portrayals of contemporary female life, this is not surprising. New York Times, "Emerald Fennell’s Dark, Jaded, Funny, Furious Fables of Female Revenge," 17 Dec. 2020 Their works, such as Lorde’s Sister Outsider and Walker’s The Color Purple, brought depth to depictions of Black female life, and expanded American society’s understanding of femininity. Tori Latham, The Atlantic, "The Books Briefing: Reimagining Womanhood," 4 Dec. 2020 However, the real moment of arrival for female athletes won’t happen on the field, but in the locker room. Los Angeles Times, "Letters: Vaccine can’t come soon enough to cure their ills," 4 Dec. 2020 The Biden team, which made history with the election of Vice President Kamala Harris as the first female, first Black, and first Indian-American veep, is also keeping gender and racial diversity in mind. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "The women joining the Biden-Harris administration," 23 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Platte remembers going to Washington, D.C., for meetings and being the only female in the room, and definitely the only Native woman in the room. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "Native people send “prayers, protections and congratulations” for Interior nominee Deb Haaland," 19 Dec. 2020 One suspect is 18-year-old Fredrick Howard, another is a 17-year-old female and the third is an unknown male, police said. Staff Report, NOLA.com, "Police searching for suspect in shooting of 12-year-old boy, three others in New Orleans East," 29 Nov. 2020 She's led all-women climbing teams across the world, written extensively about being a female in a predominantly male sport and wants to be a role model for young girls looking to explore the outdoors. Ben Church, CNN, "Trailblazing climber Sasha DiGiulian was told 'little girls don't belong.' She didn't listen.," 28 Oct. 2020 Isn’t that the same as being a heterosexual cisgender female? Definitely not. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, "What Does It Mean to Be Androsexual? Here's What Experts Say," 26 Oct. 2020 In her version, the persistent and confident tortoise who quietly outpaces the hare is a female. Alicia Rancilio, Star Tribune, "Natalie Portman releases children's book of inclusive fables," 21 Oct. 2020 Milele Coggs contested that more could be done after seeing a demographic breakdown of the cadets, which noted just one is a Black female. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fire departments in Milwaukee County are working together more than ever. Retiring Chief Rohlfing sees consolidation as next step.," 19 Oct. 2020 One victim is a 46-year-old female, who’s in critical condition. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit police investigate 3 shootings and separate stabbing incident," 15 Sep. 2020 Troopers do not release the names of juvenile victims but said the fatality victim was a 15-year-old female from New Brockton. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "15-year-old girl killed, others injured in south Alabama crash; 1 man jailed on DUI," 6 July 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Female.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/female. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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