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female

Line breaks: fe¦male
Pronunciation: /ˈfiːmeɪl
 
/

Definition of female in English:

adjective

1Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes: a herd of female deer
More example sentences
  • When breeding in the summer the male fertilizes the adult female starfish which then discharges up to twenty million eggs into the sea.
  • An unusual hybrid has been reported by veterinarians in Botswana - the offspring of a female goat and a male sheep.
  • The weight for both male and female polar bears has declined, and female bears are having fewer cubs.
1.1Relating to or characteristic of women or female animals: a female audience female names
More example sentences
  • A practical move that gave us a pretty female name with a romantic touch to balance the tough masculine environment.
  • Beauty isn't, of course, characteristic only of the female form.
  • Most reproductions of the work are from a later alteration that obscured her obvious female characteristics.
Synonyms
feminine, womanly, womanlike, ladylike;
she-, to do with women;
pretty, graceful, delicate, gentle
archaic feminal
1.2(Of a plant or flower) having a pistil but no stamens.
Example sentences
  • Unpollinated ovaries were prepared by bagging the female flowers before anthesis.
  • The male flowers are on the tassels at the top of the plant; the female flowers form the silk that hangs out of the developing ears.
  • This monoecious species has male flowers occurring in catkins and female flowers occurring in clusters.
1.3(Of parts of machinery, fittings, etc.) manufactured hollow so that a corresponding male part can be inserted.
Example sentences
  • A basket holds the coil of roofing nails and adjusts for different nails If you incorrectly install a female fitting on a nailer or stapler.
  • The tubing seat in the female fitting has a 42-degree taper.

noun

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A female person, animal, or plant.
Example sentences
  • The cubs are cared for by all the females in the pride, and will suckle from other females as well as from their mother.
  • This is more frequent in teenage boys than girls but is increasing among young females in my experience.
  • There is also some sage advice for females wanting to break into what is still essentially a male domain.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French femelle, from Latin femella, diminutive of femina 'a woman'. The change in the ending was due to association with male, but the words male and female are not linked etymologically.

More
  • The spelling of female changed in the Middle Ages to match male, which is a quite different word. Female came via Old French femelle from Latin femella, which was a diminutive form of femina ‘woman’ source also of feminine (Late Middle English), whereas male (Late Middle English) is based on Latin masculus, from mas ‘a male person’. See also chauvinism, macho. The saying the female of the species is more deadly than the male comes originally from the 1911 poem ‘The Female of the Species’ by Rudyard Kipling. Whether the animal in question is a cobra, a she-bear, or a woman, the warning of where the greatest danger lies is the same, ‘For the female of the species is more deadly than the male’.

Phrases

the female of the species

1
humorous
Women or a woman: it was one of those subtle hints that the female of the species sometimes use
More example sentences
  • You recognize a mating ritual of a man trying to assert his own among the female of the species.
  • The striking thing is how most discussions on looks - or lack of them - centre on the female of the species.
  • The female of the species is fast losing its claim to being the fairer sex.

Derivatives

femaleness

1
noun
Example sentences
  • For years I wasn't into wearing anything ‘sexy’, feeling that I would just be perpetuating a sexist objectified view of femaleness that was shoved down my throat via the covers of magazines.
  • He cross-dresses for the ‘feeling’ of being a woman and in order to assume the emotions and behaviours associated with femaleness, not for any erotic reasons or compulsions.
  • The arresting part of this photo is not her femaleness, although foregrounding her gender seems to be the intention, but the condition of her gun, which is old, chipped, and rusty.

Words that rhyme with female

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