wom·​an | \ ˈwu̇-mən How to pronounce woman (audio) , especially Southern ˈwō- How to pronounce woman (audio) or ˈwə- How to pronounce woman (audio) \
plural women\ ˈwi-​mən How to pronounce women (audio) \

Definition of woman

1a : an adult female person
b : a woman belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation) usually used in combination councilwoman
2 : womankind
3 : distinctively feminine nature : womanliness
4 : a woman who is a servant or personal attendant
5a chiefly dialectal : wife
b : mistress
6 : 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

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Other Words from woman

woman adjective
womanless \ ˈwu̇-​mən-​ləs How to pronounce womanless (audio) , especially Southern  ˈwō-​ or  ˈwə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for woman


female, lady, skirt [slang]

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The New York City medical examiner’s office on Thursday said the woman is the 1,644th person to be identified in the nearly 18 years since hijackers crashed airplanes into the trade center’s twin towers in 2001. Washington Post, "Man faces life sentence in killing of student," 19 July 2019 While rumors of a rift between the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex were just that, the palace never claimed the two women were close either. Max Foster, CNN, "Meghan and Catherine dispel rift rumors, as baby Archie strengthens 'common bond'," 18 July 2019 There was little question that any woman who gave birth was the child’s mother. Dov Fox, WIRED, "What Happens When Reproductive Tech Like IVF Goes Awry?," 17 July 2019 The public faces of the Apollo program were male astronauts, but that’s not because women weren’t qualified for space travel. Seattle Times Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Love astronaut-themed science fiction? Here are some favorite books, movies and TV shows of that genre," 17 July 2019 When the officer approached the driver's side of the vehicle, the woman was outside of the vehicle and in a shooting stance with what appeared to be a handgun, body-camera footage showed. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "17-year-old girl fatally shot by California police to be buried in Tempe," 17 July 2019 When the 6-foot tall Katherine Buehler complained that the kitchen looked small, Wright informed her that women had been emancipated from the kitchen, which was news to Mrs. Buehler. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Follow Frank Lloyd Wright’s footsteps in Bay Area home tour," 17 July 2019 The women were ages 25 to 45, held full-time jobs and had an average of more than 10 years of work experience. Kaitlin Sullivan, NBC News, "Reports of sexual harassment wane at work, possibly thanks to #MeToo," 17 July 2019 One woman in the study was 40 percent more productive on Tuesday afternoons, as rated by her colleagues, and at 6 p.m. every Tuesday, the brain sensor detected a spike in emotional excitement and energy. Katie Johnston, BostonGlobe.com, "What makes you work harder? Strap on a sensor and find out.," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'woman.' 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 woman

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

History and Etymology for woman

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

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Statistics for woman

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for woman

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

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More Definitions for woman



English Language Learners Definition of woman

: an adult female human being
: a woman who has a specified job or position
: all women thought of as a group


wom·​an | \ ˈwu̇-mən How to pronounce woman (audio) \
plural women\ ˈwi-​mən \

Kids Definition of woman

1 : an adult female person
2 : women considered as a group

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More from Merriam-Webster on woman

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for woman

Spanish Central: Translation of woman

Nglish: Translation of woman for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of woman for Arabic Speakers

Comments on woman

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


something desired as essential

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