[ 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), ef·fem·i·nat·ed, ef·fem·i·nat·ing.

to make or become effeminate.

Nearby words

  1. effects,
  2. effectual,
  3. effectually,
  4. effectuate,
  5. effeminacy,
  6. effemination,
  7. effeminize,
  8. effendi,
  9. efferent,
  10. efferent duct

Origin of effeminate

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin effēminātus, equivalent to ef- ef- + fēmin(a) woman + -ātus -ate1

Related forms
Can be confusedeffeminate effete feminine womanish womanly (see synonym study at womanly)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for effeminate

British Dictionary definitions for effeminate


/ (ɪˈfɛmɪnɪt) /


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

Word Origin for effeminate

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



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