female

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French femele, from Medieval Latin femella (a female), from Latin femella (a young female, a girl), diminutive of femina (a woman). The English spelling was remodelled under the influence of male, which is not etymologically related. Compare man and woman.

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Adjective[edit]

female (not comparable)

  1. Belonging to the sex which typically produces eggs, which in humans and most other mammals is typically the one which has XX chromosomes; belonging to the sex which has larger gametes (for species which have two sexes and for which this distinction can be made).
    • 1987, Don't Shoot[,] Darling!: Women's Independent Filmmaking in Australia, page 350:
      A travelling shot of a harbour view near Sydney's White Bay moves into a domestic interior as a female voice says, 'There was nowhere else to live except alone.'
  2. Belonging to the feminine (social) gender.
  3. (grammar, less common than 'feminine') Feminine; of the feminine grammatical gender.
    • 2012, Naomi McIlwraith, Kiyâm: Poems (ISBN 1926836693), page 43:
      The teacher's voice inflects the pulse of nêhiyawêwin as he teaches us. He says a prayer in the first class. Nouns, we learn, have a gender. In French, nouns are male or female, but in Cree, nouns are living or non-living, animate or inanimate.
  4. (figuratively) Having an internal socket, as in a connector or pipe fitting.

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Noun[edit]

female (plural females)

  1. One of the female (feminine) sex or gender.
    1. A human member of the feminine sex or gender.
    2. An animal of the sex that produces eggs.
    3. (botany) A plant which produces only that kind of reproductive organ capable of developing into fruit after impregnation or fertilization; a pistillate plant.

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