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 At a time when classical music was heavily dominated by men, Ms. Wicks was often described as the foremost female concert violinist of her generation. Washington Post, "Camilla Wicks, acclaimed mid-century violin virtuoso, dies at 92," 28 Nov. 2020 Each instalment features a male contestant and 24 prospective female dates. The Economist, "Officials in China abhor money-worship. A dating show glorifies it," 28 Nov. 2020 If a female flew in for a closer look, the researchers observed the successful males beating their wings and producing a loud whistle that dips down into the frequencies of sound humans can hear, per a statement. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Bats Mask Up to Woo Mates," 27 Nov. 2020 The female passenger, whose name also was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene. chicagotribune.com, "Woman killed, driver hurt when speeding minivan crashes into McKinley Monument in Buffalo," 27 Nov. 2020 Singer Teyana Taylor tweeted that there were no female nominees in the best R&B album category. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Drake sides with The Weeknd, says Grammys 'may no longer matter'," 26 Nov. 2020 Recently, LeeAnn read a news story that said many female executives nationwide have left their jobs to take care of their families during the pandemic. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "‘I’m so grateful’," 26 Nov. 2020 Renee Charley picks female juniper berries to make ghost-beads. Kiliii Yüyan, Travel + Leisure, "From Everyday Life to Winter Rituals, These Photographs Show the Life of the Navajo Nation in Arizona," 26 Nov. 2020 Mayo established the New Orleans Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children in 1905 along with a half-dozen other female physicians. Jeff Adelson, NOLA.com, "See 37 New Orleans streets, sites up for renaming, and who would be newly honored," 26 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Upon arrival, officers found a female in the driver’s seat of the car. Kaitlin Edquist, chicagotribune.com, "Northbrook police investigate weekend death after finding woman in parked car," 23 Nov. 2020 Two other white giraffes in the conservancy, a female and her calf, were killed by poachers in March, the trust said, and concerns are mounting for the remaining animal. NBC News, "Extremely rare white giraffe gets tracker after poachers killed its family," 18 Nov. 2020 The grave of the young female was found at a site called Wilamaya Patjxa in the Puno district of southern Peru. James Gorman, Star Tribune, "Were ancient women hunters, too? New discovery suggests they were," 13 Nov. 2020 The loss of the adult female signaled the end of the captivity program—the risk of losing another vaquita was too great. Carolyn Cowan, Smithsonian Magazine, "Vaquita Genome Offers Hope for Species’ Survival," 9 Nov. 2020 During courtship, males perform elaborate displays, including moth flight, a strenuous physical feat in which a male hovers and dangles his feet in front of the female. National Geographic, "Barn owl," 31 Oct. 2020 Across its undergraduate and graduate programs, the Iovine Young Academy’s 2019-2020 class had a gender ratio of 53% female to 47% male, composed of 56% people of color and 24% underrepresented minorities. Thom Duffy, Billboard, "Erica Muhl, Dean of USC Iovine Young Academy, Named Berklee College of Music President," 22 Oct. 2020 Lincoln Police Chief Darren Britton said the remains are those of a white female. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Police still trying to ID remains of woman found near Talladega Superspeedway in 2012," 13 Nov. 2020 Investigators learned the victim may have been trying to help a transgender female who had some of her things stolen in the area. David Aaro, Fox News, "Portland attacker Marquise Love sentenced to nearly two years in protest beating," 12 Nov. 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

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Female.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/female. Accessed 1 Dec. 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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