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[woo m-uh n-lee] /ˈwʊm ən li/
like or befitting a woman; feminine; not masculine or girlish.
in the manner of, or befitting, a woman.
Origin of womanly
1250-1300; Middle English wommanli(che). See woman, -ly
Related forms
womanliness, womanness, noun
half-womanly, adjective
unwomanly, adjective, adverb
Can be confused
effeminate, effete, feminine, womanish, womanly (see synonym study at the current entry)
2. Womanly, womanlike, womanish mean having the traits or qualities that a culture regards as especially characteristic of or ideally appropriate to adult women. Womanly is usually a term of approval, suggesting the display of traits admired by the society, such as self-possession, modesty, motherliness, and calm competence: a womanly consideration for others; with womanly skill and efficiency. Womanlike may be a neutral synonym for womanly, or it may suggest mild disapproval: a womanlike dignity; womanlike tears and recriminations. Womanish is usually disparaging; applied to women it suggests traits not generally socially approved: a womanish petulance; womanish disregard for the rules. Applied to men it suggests traits culturally deemed inappropriate for men and (in what is now often regarded as a sexist notion) to be found in women: a womanish shrillness in his speech; a womanish way of stamping his foot in anger. See also female. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for womanliness
Historical Examples
  • But she had lost none of her womanliness; rather, the contrary.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • She was such a child as she stood there, yet with something in her, too, of womanliness.

    Mistress Anne Temple Bailey
  • She has been aroused to remember that womanliness is not chiefly decorative.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • In Iris' voice was a womanliness which showed his story had reached the depths of her being.

    Afterwards Kathlyn Rhodes
  • But to express the graces and endowments of a woman, it is her womanliness that is emphasized.

    Social Life

    Maud C. Cooke
  • And crowning it all was a sweet grace and womanliness which was good to see.

    The Love Story of Abner Stone Edwin Carlile Litsey
  • The womanliness of that last motion was a thing for a man to wonder at.

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
  • And then they talk about modesty and womanliness and retiring!

    Modern Broods Charlotte Mary Yonge
  • Miss M. will rank with any of them in womanliness or gifts or grace.

  • That off-hand manner was not Frank Raban's ideal of womanliness.

    Old Kensington Miss Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for womanliness


possessing qualities, such as warmth, attractiveness, etc, generally regarded as typical of a woman, esp a mature woman
characteristic of or belonging to a woman
Derived Forms
womanliness, noun
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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