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[adjective ih-fem-uh-nit; verb ih-fem-uh-neyt] /adjective ɪˈfɛm ə nɪt; verb ɪˈfɛm əˌneɪt/
(of a man or boy) having traits, tastes, habits, etc., traditionally considered feminine, as softness or delicacy.
characterized by excessive softness, delicacy, self-indulgence, etc.:
effeminate luxury.
verb (used with or without object), effeminated, effeminating.
to make or become effeminate.
Origin of effeminate
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin effēminātus, equivalent to ef- ef- + fēmin(a) woman + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
effeminately, adverb
effeminateness, noun
effemination, noun
uneffeminate, adjective
uneffeminately, adverb
Can be confused
effeminate, effete, feminine, womanish, womanly (see synonym study at womanly)
1. See female. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for effeminated
Historical Examples
  • Under this fostering care he "effeminated himself" (obabilsya), as he is wont to say.

    Russia Donald Mackenzie Wallace
  • The latter is preserved in the sense of "effeminated man," found in myths concerning Loke.

    Teutonic Mythology, Vol. 1 of 3 Viktor Rydberg, Ph.D.
  • Our gentry forsooth in these dayes are so effeminated that they know not how to ride on horseback.

  • Had I been united to her, the excess of my affection would have effeminated my intellect.

  • And then I have effeminated and enervated myself with love and the summer in these last two months.

British Dictionary definitions for effeminated


(of a man or boy) displaying characteristics regarded as typical of a woman; not manly
lacking firmness or vigour: an effeminate piece of writing
Derived Forms
effeminacy, effeminateness, noun
effeminately, 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
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Word Origin and History for effeminated



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
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