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effeminate

[adjective ih-fem-uh-nit; verb ih-fem-uh-neyt]
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adjective
  1. (of a man or boy) having traits, tastes, habits, etc., traditionally considered feminine, as softness or delicacy.
  2. characterized by excessive softness, delicacy, self-indulgence, etc.: effeminate luxury.
verb (used with or without object), ef·fem·i·nat·ed, ef·fem·i·nat·ing.
  1. to make or become effeminate.

Origin of effeminate

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin effēminātus, equivalent to ef- ef- + fēmin(a) woman + -ātus -ate1
Related formsef·fem·i·nate·ly, adverbef·fem·i·nate·ness, nounef·fem·i·na·tion, nounun·ef·fem·i·nate, adjectiveun·ef·fem·i·nate·ly, adverb
Can be confusedeffeminate effete feminine womanish womanly (see synonym study at womanly)

Synonyms

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1. See female.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for effeminate

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I would say,” answered Charmidas, “that he was a mean-spirited, effeminate fellow.

  • "Effeminate,—very," muttered the old lady, as she wiped her spectacles.

    Barrington

    Charles James Lever

  • The chief gods of Sidon and Tyre have nothing luxurious or effeminate about them.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies

  • The soft "r" and the hard "a" were taken as proofs of effeminate hypocrisy.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • They are very idle, gay and effeminate, and I fear that they will lead you astray.

    The Indian Fairy Book

    Cornelius Mathews


British Dictionary definitions for effeminate

effeminate

adjective
  1. (of a man or boy) displaying characteristics regarded as typical of a woman; not manly
  2. lacking firmness or vigouran effeminate piece of writing
Derived Formseffeminacy or effeminateness, nouneffeminately, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Latin effēmināre to make into a woman, from fēmina woman
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for effeminate

adj.

early 15c., from Latin effeminatus "womanish, effeminate," past participle of effeminare "make a woman of," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + femina "woman" (see feminine). Rarely used without reproach. Related: Effeminately.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper