noun Grammar.

the feminine gender.
a noun or other element in or marking that gender.

Origin of feminine

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French: feminine of feminin < L of fēminīnus, equivalent to fēmin(a) woman (see fetus) + -īnus -ine1
Related formsfem·i·nine·ly, adverbfem·i·nine·ness, nounan·ti·fem·i·nine, adjectivean·ti·fem·i·nine·ly, adverban·ti·fem·i·nine·ness, nounhalf-fem·i·nine, adjectivehy·per·fem·i·nine, adjectivehy·per·fem·i·nine·ly, adverbhy·per·fem·i·nine·ness, nouno·ver·fem·i·nine, adjectiveo·ver·fem·i·nine·ly, adverbpseu·do·fem·i·nine, adjectivesu·per·fem·i·nine, adjectiveul·tra·fem·i·nine, adjectiveun·fem·i·nine, adjectiveun·fem·i·nine·ly, adverb
Can be confusedfemale feminine (see synonym study at female)effeminate effete feminine womanish womanly (see synonym study at womanly)

Synonyms for feminine

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

Related Words for feminine

ladylike, soft, tender, womanly, female, dainty, effeminate, womanish

Examples from the Web for feminine

Contemporary Examples of feminine

Historical Examples of feminine

  • Simple Alleyne opened his eyes at this little spurt of feminine bitterness.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Did she have a heart, then, or was it a feminine trait to turn pale in every emergency?

  • But dancing was the only feminine accomplishment with which she had any acquaintance.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • "'Tis nothing," she answered, refusing his support with feminine reserve.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • His own nature partook of the feminine, and he shared its intuitions and its fears.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

British Dictionary definitions for feminine



suitable to or characteristic of a womana feminine fashion
possessing qualities or characteristics considered typical of or appropriate to a woman
effeminate; womanish
  1. denoting or belonging to a gender of nouns, occurring in many inflected languages, that includes all kinds of referents as well as some female animate referents
  2. (as noun)German Zeit ``time'' and Ehe ``marriage'' are feminines
Derived Formsfemininely, adverbfeminineness, noun

Word Origin for feminine

C14: from Latin fēminīnus, 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 feminine

mid-14c., "of the female sex," from Old French femenin (12c.) "feminine, female; with feminine qualities, effeminate," from Latin femininus "feminine" (in the grammatical sense at first), from femina "woman, female," literally "she who suckles," from root of felare "to suck, suckle" (see fecund). Sense of "woman-like, proper to or characteristic of women" is recorded from mid-15c.

The interplay of meanings now represented in female, feminine, and effeminate, and the attempt to make them clear and separate, has led to many coinages: feminitude (1878); feminile "feminine" (1640s); feminility "womanliness" (1838); femality (17c., "effeminacy;" 1754 "female nature"). Also feminality (1640s, "quality or state of being female"), from rare adjective feminal (late 14c.), from Old French feminal. And femineity "quality or state of being feminine," from Latin femineus "of a woman, pertaining to a woman."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper