Definition of female in English:

female

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’
    • ‘There is no one-size-fits-all explanation for female infidelity among animals.’
    • ‘There have been cases of female animals ‘adopting’ motherless young ones of other species.’
    • ‘Critics were divided neatly by age and sex, with almost all the female film correspondents and virtually everyone under the age of 35 loving the film.’
    • ‘Whether he slept with any of his female correspondents we do not know.’
    • ‘A female correspondent to this magazine once claimed that it was not.’
    • ‘Incidentally, practically all lamb and pork comes from female animals but, with beef, a good steer is as good as a good cow.’
    • ‘His laughter trailed behind her as he went to a fitting with another female worker, but she was not very attractive.’
    • ‘Like other mammals, female mice manufacture prenatally all the eggs they will ever have.’
    • ‘An unusual hybrid has been reported by veterinarians in Botswana - the offspring of a female goat and a male sheep.’
    • ‘I wanted to be the first ever female cricket correspondent of the Times.’
    • ‘She was the first female apprentice toolmaker employed by the company.’
    • ‘Put simply, inserting a senior female police officer into an investigation was shown to spoil neither investigation nor genre.’
    • ‘When breeding in the summer the male fertilizes the adult female starfish which then discharges up to twenty million eggs into the sea.’
    • ‘The weight for both male and female polar bears has declined, and female bears are having fewer cubs.’
    • ‘Traditionally, male babies were valued much more highly than female offspring.’
    • ‘Manufacturing wages for female workers range as low as 12 cents to 30 cents per hour.’
    • ‘She's Canadian and was one of the first female foreign correspondents on Canadian television.’
    • ‘Infested berries will have a discoloured area where the egg was inserted by the female fly.’
    • ‘It was also considered a suitable name for a female crocodile.’
    • ‘The embryos were then inserted into female mice that gave birth to mice with this genetic defect.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to or characteristic of women or female animals:
      ‘a female audience’
      ‘female names’
      • ‘What I didn't expect to see was how amused the predominantly white female studio audience was with these clowns.’
      • ‘I nearly dozed, although I did notice a surprising amount of female laughter in the audience.’
      • ‘I don't know whether there was a corresponding list of stereotypical female faults.’
      • ‘Both are female-orientated, with strong female casts and a predominantly female audience.’
      • ‘Most reproductions of the work are from a later alteration that obscured her obvious female characteristics.’
      • ‘Thus, it seems logical for a correlation to exist between male and female fertility traits.’
      • ‘What's the dumbest female name you can think of?’
      • ‘If it's not that, I think it must be a biological improvement in female fertility.’
      • ‘Women have two ovaries in their wombs and are the major source of female hormones, manufacturing oestrogen and progesterone.’
      • ‘The baby boomer audience, mainly female, hung on his every note, nuance and gesture.’
      • ‘A practical move that gave us a pretty female name with a romantic touch to balance the tough masculine environment.’
      • ‘So, they're really marketing to a lot more of the female audience now.’
      • ‘We are not inducing female sex characteristics at that age.’
      • ‘And we have to say that the fashions on-show on the catwalk and in the mainly female audience were mouth watering.’
      • ‘Interestingly, she was named after her father who wanted his daughter to have a female version of his name.’
      • ‘I'm willing to bet that Dido's audience is almost exclusively female, to an unusual degree in pop artists.’
      • ‘He's begun hormone treatment, has adopted a female name, and hopes to undergo surgery within the next two years.’
      • ‘Dashed and nondashed lines represent male and female life cycles, respectively.’
      • ‘Beauty isn't, of course, characteristic only of the female form.’
      • ‘I suppose my main gripe is the gender politics of this show, which I'm assuming is targeting a mainly female audience.’
      feminine, womanly, womanlike, ladylike
      she-, to do with women
      pretty, graceful, delicate, gentle
      feminal
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a plant or flower) having a pistil but no stamens.
      • ‘The female tree is the best for the home garden, as they are the best fruit bearer.’
      • ‘There are male and female flowers on different plants.’
      • ‘Under field conditions small plants are often male, with production of both male and female flowers increasing with plant size.’
      • ‘Male and hermaphroditic flowers are slightly larger and a brighter yellow than female flowers.’
      • ‘Male flowers are pale yellow, whereas female flowers are white; inflorescences of both sexes are similar in size.’
      • ‘If the flower is female and comes with a small courgette attached, deep fry it.’
      • ‘The female flowers mature in late summer and are used to add bitterness, favor, and aroma to beer.’
      • ‘Planting female trees in one's own yard will attract and then trap incoming airborne pollen from males of their own species.’
      • ‘The female flower sits closer to the vine and has a swollen embryonic fruit at its base.’
      • ‘While in the bloom, they mate, feed, and brush pollen onto female flowers.’
      • ‘Male flowers are at the top of the spike and female flowers at the base.’
      • ‘One male date palm can produce enough pollen for 49 female trees.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, the size distribution of male and female trees broadly overlapped.’
      • ‘It is grown to produce the narcotic drugs hashish and marijuana, made primarily from its female flowers.’
      • ‘Unpollinated ovaries were prepared by bagging the female flowers before anthesis.’
      • ‘If the goal is to just reduce the overall number of trees and stop further spreading, cut female trees only.’
      • ‘Nearby, male nutmeg trees are planted next to the blooming female trees with the red laced nutmeg peeking out of their ripe yellow pods.’
      • ‘That's because the female flower is a small terminal spike on the end of the current season's growth.’
      • ‘This monoecious species has male flowers occurring in catkins and female flowers occurring in clusters.’
    3. 1.3 (of parts of machinery, fittings, etc.) manufactured hollow so that a corresponding male part can be inserted.
      • ‘The tubing seat in the female fitting has a 42-degree taper.’
      • ‘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.’

noun

  • A female person, animal, or plant.

    • ‘This system of marking the females is still used at all levels of society.’
    • ‘The cubs are cared for by all the females in the pride, and will suckle from other females as well as from their mother.’
    • ‘It also occurs in females, particularly when they need to defend their young.’
    • ‘When the females arrive they rest up in deeper water until conditions are perfect for spawning.’
    • ‘For moss sperm, attempts at fertilizing the female of the species may be doomed before they even begin.’
    • ‘The sharks stay as late as December some years, before the females head north into Mozambique.’
    • ‘Biological differentiation into male and female makes sexual reproduction possible.’
    • ‘The females enter the spawning bays a few days later and spawning normally occurs around dawn and dusk.’
    • ‘Most of my key operational females have no childcare responsibilities at all.’
    • ‘The life cycle begins as the adult female lays its eggs while burrowing into the skin.’
    • ‘Figures show that women in Glasgow will die earlier than females anywhere else in Britain.’
    • ‘It is the females that inflict the bite to extract the blood they need to assist the production of their eggs.’
    • ‘However, the sexual objectification of females is not confined to pornography.’
    • ‘The chromosome from the father determines whether the offspring becomes male or female.’
    • ‘The females manoeuvre for position in the middle of the shoal - with the biggest in the centre.’
    • ‘This is more frequent in teenage boys than girls but is increasing among young females in my experience.’
    • ‘Everyone young and old, male and female bore this mark in the same place.’
    • ‘There is also some sage advice for females wanting to break into what is still essentially a male domain.’
    • ‘This can be easily done in very thin females but is more difficult in heavier women.’
    • ‘This may give females a particularly large benefit from reallocating paternal expenses.’

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.

Pronunciation

female

/ˈfiːmeɪl/