From Late Latin muliebritās (“womanhood; womanliness”), from Latin muliēbris (“feminine, womanly”) + -tās (suffix forming nouns indicating a state of being); or from muliēbris + -ity; compare Middle French muliebrité. Muliēbris is derived from mulier (“woman; wife”) (from mollior (“softer; milder; weaker”), comparative form of mollis (“soft; mild, tender; weak”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *mel- (“soft; tender; weak”)) + -brīs (noun suffix denoting a person).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌmjuːlɪˈɛbɹɪti/
Audio (UK) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˌmjuliˈɛbɹəti/, /-ɾi/
- Hyphenation: mu‧li‧e‧bri‧ty
- (literary) The state or quality of being a woman; the features of a woman's nature; femininity, womanhood.
- Synonyms: femaleness, femineity, womanishness, womanliness, womanness
- Antonyms: masculinity, manhood, manliness, mannishness, virility
- 1592?, attributed to Thomas Kyd, The Tragedye of Solyman and Perseda. […], Printed by Edward Allde for Edward White, […], OCLC 222305810, signature G2, verso; republished as The Tragedie of Soliman and Perseda. […], London: Printed by Edward Allde, for Edward White, […], 1599, OCLC 84763994, Act I:
- The Ladies of Rhodes hearing that you have loſt, / A capitoll part of your Lady ware, / Haue made their petition to Cupid, / To plague you aboue all other, / As one preiuditiall to their muliebritie.
- 1653, François Rabelais; Thomas Urquhart and Peter Anthony Motteux, transl., “How Rondibilis Declareth Cuckoldry to be Naturally One of the Appendances of Marriage”, in The Works of Francis Rabelais, Doctor in Physick: Containing Five Books of the Lives, Heroick Deeds, and Sayings of Gargantua, and His Sonne Pantagruel. […], London: Printed [by Thomas Ratcliffe and Edward Mottershead] for Richard Baddeley, […], OCLC 503530; republished in volume I, London: Privately printed for the Navarre Society Limited, […], , OCLC 977536467, book the third, page 460:
- [I]n the devising, hammering, forging and composing of the Woman, she hath had a much tenderer regard, and by a great deal more respectful heed to the delightful Consortship, and sociable Delectation of the Man, than to the Perfection and Accomplishment of the individual Womanishness, or Muliebrity.
- 1858 July, [Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.], “The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Every Man His Own Boswell.”, in The Atlantic Monthly. A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics, volume II, number IX, Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson and Company, […]; London: Trübner and Company, OCLC 932565813, page 241; republished as chapter IX, in The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Every Man His Own Boswell, Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson and Company, 1858, OCLC 45701399, page 251:
- The second of the ravishing voices I have heard was, as I have said, that of another German woman. […] it had so much woman in it,—muliebrity, as well as femineity; […]
- 1888, Bret Harte, “[A Phyllis of the Sierras] chapter V”, in A Phyllis of the Sierras and A Drift from Redwood Camp, Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Houghton, Mifflin and Company […], OCLC 1130880, page 152:
- [T]his tall, handsome, gentlemanly-looking woman, who, however, in spite of her broad shoulders and narrow hips possessed a refined muliebrity superior to mere womanliness of outline, […]
- 1904 September, H. B. Marriott-Watson [i.e., H[enry] B[rereton] Marriott Watson], “The American Woman: An Analysis”, in James Knowles, editor, The Nineteenth Century and After: A Monthly Review, volume LVI, number CCCXXXI, London: Spottiswoode & Co. Ltd., printers […], OCLC 776577785, page 435:
- Civilisation has achieved a very elaborate woman, but the elaboration is unimportant from the point of view of science. It is decorative; the structure endures; the heart of modern woman is the heart of her savage ancestress dressed and adorned and furnished. This permanence of muliebrity serves to indicate the requirements of natural law. Woman may not depart from it to any considerable extent without impairing her position and nullifying her functions.
- 1911, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, “Margaret in London”, in The New Machiavelli, London: John Lane; The Bodley Head […], OCLC 963600821, book the second (Margaret), § 2, page 207:
- She had not married, I suppose because her standards were high, and men are cowards and with an instinctive appetite for muliebrity.
- 1922, [Beckles Willson], “The Effemination of England”, in England: By an Overseas Englishman, London: John Lane; The Bodley Head Ltd. […], OCLC 259701648, pages 181–182:
- Yet a nation is said to become effeminate […] when the attributes which distinguish the female are acquired by the male population—when the customs and habits which are proper to the women are assumed by the men. As both principles are necessary, may not one infer that the qualities generated by both principles are necessary to a nation,—that in proportion as the muliebrity of the one sex declines, the virility of the other also lessens, in an endeavour to adjust the moral machine?
- 1928, A[braham] V[an] H[eyningen] Hartendorp, editor, Philippine Magazine, Manila: A. V. H. Hartendorp, OCLC 9127509, page 509, column 1:
- Again, there has grown up among our little people a feeling of delicacy in regard to dealing with certain relatives of the other sex and with all other such muliebrities as are within marriageable age. Thus if a Pygmy man is tripping along the trail and happens to descry one of such women coming his way, sexual politeness requires him either to turn tail and retrace his steps or to make a detour […]
- (literary) The state of attainment of womanhood following maidenhood.
- 1791, [Burhan al-Din al-Marghinani]; Charles Hamilton, transl., “Of Impotence”, in The Hedaya, or Guide; a Commentary on the Mussulman Laws: […], volume I, London: Printed by T[homas] Bensley, OCLC 265001673, pages 354–356:
- [page 354] If a huſband be Inneen, [impotent,] it is requiſite that the Kâzee appoint the term of one year from the period of litigation, within which if the accuſed have carnal connexion with his wife it is well; but if not, the Kâzee muſt pronounce a ſeparation, provided ſuch be the deſire of the wife, […] [pages 355–356] Where ſhe was married as a virgin, ſhe is to be examined by ſome of her own ſex, and if they declare her to be ſtill a virgin, the term of a year is to be appointed, as above, becauſe the huſband's falſehood is then evident; but if they declare her muliebrity [footnote: Meaning womanhood, as opposed to virginity.], the Kâzee is in that caſe to require the huſband to make oath, which if he do, her right to ſeparation is defeated; […]
- 1997 spring, Julie A. Haurykiewicz, “From Mules to Muliebrity: Speech and Silence in Their Eyes Were Watching God”, in Southern Literary Journal, volume 29, number 2, Chapel Hill, N.C.: Department of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ISSN 1534-1461, JSTOR 20078182, OCLC 924730098, page 45:
- Janie's story of personal growth may be charted as one that travels from mules to muliebrity.
- (physiology) The state of puberty in a female.
- muliebritie (obsolete)