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 Clinton’s 2016 campaign staff was 54% female and more than 38% of staff identified as racially and ethnically diverse, though that number was lower, at 34%, for the campaign’s leadership. Jennifer Epstein, Bloomberg.com, "Trump and Biden Say Campaign Staffs Are More Than Half Women," 30 June 2020 Second Division officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department found the female shooting victim, whose age and identity were not immediately released, about 10:30 a.m. on Dixie Highway at Hale Avenue, LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Female victim killed in shooting on Dixie Highway, Louisville police say," 26 June 2020 For example, an adult male there requires roughly 80 square miles of territory—an area about three and a half times the size of Manhattan—while a female needs about 48 square miles. Peter Gwin, National Geographic, "Himalaya ‘ghost cats’ are finally coming into view," 16 June 2020 On August 7, a Twitter account that went by Tui_Elei, allegedly created by another defendant, sent a DM to the female victim asking what her problem was with Ebay. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Ex-Ebay Execs Allegedly Made Life Hell for Critics," 15 June 2020 Instead, it has historically been used to exclude intersex competitors—individuals with a combination of what are traditionally considered male and female traits. Popular Science, "The science behind sex, gender, and athletic competition is still pretty shaky," 12 June 2020 Trans men are people who were assigned female at birth but identify as men. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Gender identity: The difference between gender, sex and other need-to-knows," 10 June 2020 Download the NBC News app for breaking news and alerts Refinery29 built its brand around female empowerment, but it has been accused of a toxic work culture that excluded women of color. NBC News, "Bon Appétit, Refinery29 editors step down as calls for racial justice continue to reshape media landscape," 9 June 2020 Silver wonders if the lack of curiosity about female versus male subjects may be a form of implicit or unconscious bias that some researchers hold. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "Females are still routinely left out of biomedical research — and ignored in analyses of data," 9 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sean Fredrickson, 48, of Lake Oswego, Oregon, was a passenger along with his children and step-children -- a 16-year-old female, a 16-year-old male and an 11-year-old male. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "5 of the victims who died in an Idaho plane collision have been identified," 7 July 2020 The organizers said a female was taken to the hospital. CBS News, "Black man claims group of assailants threatened to "get a noose"," 7 July 2020 Police said an 18-year-old female and a 21-year-old male were also wounded. Fox News, "California girls, 11 and 12, fatally shot at birthday pool party; 3 others wounded," 5 July 2020 The 207th death from the coronavirus is a 66-year-old female from Marion County, who had underlying health conditions and died on June 27 in Salem Hospital after testing positive 15 days before. oregonlive, "Coronavirus in Oregon: 181 new cases, 3 deaths, as state hits 20th consecutive day with over 100 new cases," 1 July 2020 Officers say the female, 23, was from out of state. The Enquirer, "Pedestrian hit and killed on I-75 South, St. Bernard police say," 27 June 2020 Office said the female was a witness in the case, but not a witness to the crime. al, "7 people killed to ‘wipe the slate clean’ with club called ‘7 Deadly Sins,' court records state," 24 June 2020 Most lizards can reproduce asexually using a process called parthenogenesis, in which a female can reproduce without the genetic contribution of the male. Quanta Magazine, "How to Breed a Pomsky and Other Questions About Dogs and Sex," 18 June 2020 Still, the female and her cubs were somewhere, and Prasenjeet planned to find them. Peter Gwin, National Geographic, "Himalaya ‘ghost cats’ are finally coming into view," 16 June 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

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Female.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/female. Accessed 12 Jul. 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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