femme

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English[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

Etymology[edit]

From French femme (woman). Compare feme.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /fɛm/
    • (file)

Noun[edit]

femme (plural femmes)

  1. A woman, a wife; (now chiefly North American) a young woman or girl. [from 19th c.]
    • 1885, Richard Francis Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 18:
      Then I turned to him and said, "O my lord, I have that to propose to thee wherein thou must not cross me; and this it is that, when we reach Baghdad, my native city, I offer thee my life as thy handmaiden in holy matrimony, and thou shalt be to me baron and I will be femme to thee."
    • 1983, Variety's Film Reviews: 1964–1967:
      Theodore J. Flicker and George Kirgo have penned a good script in which Elvis is played off against four femmes […].
  2. (LGBT) A lesbian or other queer woman whose appearance, identity etc. is seen as feminine as opposed to butch. [from 20th c.]
    Synonym: fem (less common)
    • 2013, Michelle Gibson, ‎Deborah Meem, Femme/Butch, p. 103:
      I love butches, though. I dated a femme once. That was wrong on so many levels.
    • 1997, Bi Academic Intervention, Bisexual Imaginary: Representation, Identity, and Desire, A&C Black (→ISBN), page 207:
      Given the myth that lesbian femmes will eventually leave their butches for men, there is an understandable unwillingness to acknowledge bisexual femmes, who really might do it — as indeed they have every right to.
  3. (LGBT, less common) A person whose gender is feminine-leaning, such as a feminine non-binary person.
    • 2018, Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries (Lee Harrington, Tai Fenix Kulystin), page 79:
      The same is true of Goddess Spirituality spaces which are predicated on Radical Feminist rhetorics about Nature and the embodied experience – even those spaces which are open to trans women and nonbinary femmes may still fall back on language about the womb [...]
    • 2019, The Lemonade Reader: Beyoncé, Black Feminism and Spirituality (Kinitra D. Brooks, Kameelah L. Martin):
      [] there is no story of Black pain deeper than that of Black fat women and femmes. []
      1 Gender expansive for women, femmes, and nonbinary folks.
    • 2019, Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag (Julia S. Jordan-Zachery, Duchess Harris), page 21:
      Jordan-Zachery offers two dominant scripts that are often written onto Black women's, femmes', and girls' bodies: The Ass and Strong Black Woman scripts.
    • 2019, Kristen J. Sollee, Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine, page xvii:
      [...] and any person who might partake in feminine expression (cis and trans women and men, nonbinary femmes...).

Antonyms[edit]

Coordinate terms[edit]

  • (person with a feminine-leaning gender): masc (noun)

Adjective[edit]

femme (comparative more femme, superlative most femme)

  1. (chiefly Canada, US, journalism, entertainment) Pertaining to a femme; feminine, female. [from 20th c.]
    • 2009, Jeff Apter, Fornication: The Red Hot Chili Peppers Story:
      Admittedly, Kiedis was concerned about the lack of femme rockers on the bill: the only women featured were in British band Lush, who would open each day's festivities before a few hundred curious onlookers.
    • 2019, Summer Brennan, The Guardian, 20 March:
      High heels are something like neckties for women, in that it can be harder to look both formal and femme without them.
  2. (chiefly derogatory) Effeminate (of a man). [from 20th c.]
  3. Characteristic of a feminine lesbian or queer woman. [from 20th c.]
    Her style was more femme than butch.
    • 1992, Deneuve:
      "We want to base our relationships on who we are now, not who we once were" says radical femme bisexual Linda Moore.
    • 2007, Beth A. Firestein, Becoming Visible: Counseling Bisexuals Across the Lifespan, Columbia University Press (→ISBN), page 305:
      In comparison to butch bisexual women, it may be easier for femme bisexual women to locate male and female dating partners []

Antonyms[edit]

See also[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French femme, from Old French fame, femme, feme, from Latin fēmina, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₁-m̥h₁n-éh₂ ((the one) nursing, breastfeeding), derivation of the verbal root *dʰeh₁(y)- (to suck, suckle). Various spellings such as feme, fame and fenme were used in Old French. Doublet of hembra.

See cognates in regional languages in France: Norman fame, Gallo fame, Picard fanme, Bourguignon fonne, Franco-Provençal fèna, Occitan femna, Corsican femina.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

femme f (plural femmes)

  1. woman
    • 1868, Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror
      Ta grandeur morale, image de l’infini, est immense comme la réflexion du philosophe, comme l’amour de la femme, comme la beauté divine de l’oiseau, comme les méditations du poète. Tu es plus beau que la nuit. Réponds-moi, océan, veux-tu être mon frère ?
      Your moral grandeur, image of infinity, is as vast as the philosopher's reflections, as woman's love, as the divine beauty of the bird, as the meditations of the poet. You are more beautiful than the night. Answer me, ocean, will you be my brother ?
    Antonym: homme
  2. wife
    • 1880, Émile Zola, Nana
      Ce fut le soir du mariage à l'église que le comte Muffat se présenta dans la chambre de sa femme, où il n'était pas entré depuis deux ans.
      It was on the night of the wedding at the church that Count Muffat appeared in his wife's bedroom, which he had not entered for two years past.
    Synonym: épouse
    Antonyms: mari, époux
  3. (LGBT, rare) Alternative form of fem (femme, feminine lesbian) (contrast butch)
    • 2001, Marie-Hélène Bourcier, Queer zones: politiques des identités sexuelles, des représentations et des savoirs:
      " [] un couple qui fonctionne requiert des individus dichotomiques qu'il s'agisse d'un homme et d'une femme ou bien d'une butch et d'une femme", Lilian Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth Century.

Related terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • Antillean Creole: fanm
  • Guianese Creole: fanm
  • Haitian Creole: fanm
  • Karipúna Creole French: fam
  • Louisiana Creole French: fam, fenm
  • Seychellois Creole: fanm

Further reading[edit]


Middle French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French fame, femme, feme, from Latin femina, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₁-m̥h₁n-éh₂ ((the one) nursing, breastfeeding), derivation of the verbal root *dʰeh₁(y)- (to suck, suckle). Various spellings such as feme, fame and fenme were used in Old French.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

femme f (plural femmes)

  1. wife
  2. woman (female adult human being)

Synonyms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • French: femme
    • Antillean Creole: fanm
    • Guianese Creole: fanm
    • Haitian Creole: fanm
    • Karipúna Creole French: fam
    • Louisiana Creole French: fam, fenm
    • Seychellois Creole: fanm

Norman[edit]

Norman Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia nrm

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French femme, feme, fame, fenme, from Latin fēmina, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₁-m̥n-eh₂ (who sucks), derivation of the verbal root *dʰeh₁(y)- (to suck, suckle).

Noun[edit]

femme f (plural femmes)

  1. (Jersey, France) wife
  2. (Jersey, France) woman

Old French[edit]

Noun[edit]

femme f (oblique plural femmes, nominative singular femme, nominative plural femmes)

  1. Alternative form of fame

Poitevin-Saintongeais[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Latin femina.

Noun[edit]

femme

  1. woman
    en boune femmea good woman

Further reading[edit]

  • Pierre Rézeau, Le "Vocabulaire poitevin" (1808–1825) de Lubin Mauduyt: Édition critique (1994)