[adjective ih-fem-uh-nit; verb ih-fem-uh-neyt]


(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.

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 for effeminate

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

Examples from the Web for effeminated

Historical Examples of effeminated

  • 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.

  • Under this fostering care he "effeminated himself" (obabilsya), as he is wont to say.


    Donald Mackenzie Wallace

British Dictionary definitions for effeminated



(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 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