wom·​an ˈwu̇-mən How to pronounce woman (audio)
especially Southern
ˈwō- How to pronounce woman (audio)
ˈwə- How to pronounce woman (audio)
plural women ˈwi-mən How to pronounce woman (audio)
: an adult female person
: a woman belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation)
usually used in combination
: distinctively feminine nature : womanliness
: a woman who is a servant or personal attendant
chiefly dialectal : wife
: a woman who is extremely fond of or devoted to something specified
I'm a chocolate woman through and through, but one bite of West's banana pudding cupcake and I was sold.Hattie Brown Garrow
woman adjective
ˈwu̇-mən-ləs How to pronounce woman (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈwō-
 or  ˈwə-

Examples of woman in a Sentence

She grew up to become a confident and beautiful woman. She is a grown woman. The store sells shoes for both men and women.
Recent Examples on the Web The war, now in its sixth week, was triggered by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, in which the militants killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted some 240 men, women and children. Wafaa Shurafa, arkansasonline.com, 18 Nov. 2023 In one of seven videos, which were obtained and reviewed by Fox News Digital via a public records request, Harp curses out a woman. Chris Eberhart, Fox News, 18 Nov. 2023 There in the bushes, where the man had just been, was the body of a young woman. Natalie Morales, CBS News, 18 Nov. 2023 In 2017, directly after the events of Warner Bros. 2014 Godzilla reboot, a young woman named Cate (Anna Sawai) comes to Japan to settle her renowned father Hiroshi’s (Takehiro Hira) affairs, but stumbles into a disturbing truth. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Nov. 2023 The group comprised nine women and five men, not nine men and five women. Rebeccah Glaser, NBC News, 18 Nov. 2023 And certainly, the number of women and younger writers of color who stepped up to serve did not go unnoticed by guild leadership. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 18 Nov. 2023 Israel-Gaza war Hostages: A tentative deal being considered could release at least 50 women and children being held by Hamas. William Booth, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2023 The event’s hype woman had been stern about being quiet once the cameras started rolling. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 17 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'woman.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English wīfman, from wīf woman, wife + man human being, man

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of woman was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near woman

Cite this Entry

“Woman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woman. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


wom·​an ˈwu̇m-ən How to pronounce woman (audio)
plural women ˈwim-ən How to pronounce woman (audio)
: an adult female person
: a woman who is a servant or attendant

Old English wīfman "a female person," from wīf "woman, wife" and man "person"

More from Merriam-Webster on woman

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