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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from female

Adjective

femaleness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for female

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In 1989, when the poster was made, less than 5 percent of the artists in the modern-art collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, were female, yet women made up 85 percent of the nude models. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Isn’t She Good—For a Woman?," 10 Jan. 2021 Unfortunately, this year’s slate of all white nominees, only one of whom is female, is not an aberration for children’s music. Gary Dinges, USA TODAY, "Trio of best children's group Grammy contenders decline nominations over lack of diversity," 4 Jan. 2021 The field of presidential candidates was more female than ever before. Washington Post, "Last year, women marched in the streets. This year, they aren’t — but it’s not because our problems are over.," 4 Jan. 2021 Fifty-four percent have been female and 46 percent male. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "214 new coronavirus cases reported in Cleveland: Tuesday update," 30 Dec. 2020 Among the survey takers, 88% were under age 65; 72% were female, 22% were male and 6% preferred not to answer; 85% were white, 3% were black and 11% preferred not to answer; and 2% were Hispanic. Aegis Staff, baltimoresun.com, "More than half of Harford residents surveyed say they’d get COVID-19 vaccine," 29 Dec. 2020 More than half of its users are under age 13, and 44% of its players are female, bringing the site closer to gender parity than many video games. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "Roblox is getting kids’ attention. Next stop, investors," 24 Dec. 2020 The other performances that stayed with me this year were all female. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Movies That Mattered in 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 Nearly half of those juveniles were Black and the majority were female. Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, "Judges Are Locking Up Children for Noncriminal Offenses Like Repeatedly Disobeying Their Parents and Skipping School," 22 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In its first ever female-only homeless shelter, the Salvation Army is temporarily leasing space at the former St. Joseph's Home for Children for up to 30 women while the nonprofit looks for a permanent emergency shelter site in north Minneapolis. Kelly Smith, Star Tribune, "Former Minneapolis orphanage becomes homeless women's shelter," 15 Jan. 2021 Furthermore, Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris made strides as the first female, Black, South Asian-American elected to the nation’s second highest office. Renee Morad, NBC News, "From politics to the pandemic: How women changed the course of 2020," 30 Dec. 2020 It was learned that the female, 20, of Cleveland, was driving at the time of the crash. cleveland, "Police catch up with hit-skip car speeding from scene, arrest two: Lyndhurst police blotter," 23 Dec. 2020 The deceased are a family, including an adult man, an adult female, a 12 year old boy, and a 3 year old boy. Lucas Manfredi, Fox News, "Juvenile charged with murdering four in West Virginia, including two kids," 14 Dec. 2020 The zoo has had giant pandas almost continuously since 1972, when Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai gave the United States Ling-Ling, a female, and Hsing-Hsing, a male. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "National Zoo’s giant pandas will head to China in three years," 7 Dec. 2020 The suspects were described as a White male, in his 20's or 30's, and a White female, in her 20's, both with tattoos or paint on their faces, according to police. Andy Rose And Alaa Elassar, CNN, "1 dead after multiple random shootings in Nevada on Thanksgiving," 26 Nov. 2020 Tilley is a white female, 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weighing 260 pounds. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "17-year-old girl missing from Tallapoosa County," 25 Nov. 2020 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about female

Time Traveler for female

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for female

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Female.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/female. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on female

What made you want to look up female? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!