[ meyl ]
See synonyms for male on
  1. having or relating to a gender identity that corresponds to a complex, variable set of social and cultural roles, traits, and behaviors assigned to people of the sex that typically produces sperm cells. : See Usage note at gender1

    • Biology. of, relating to, or being an animal or human of the sex or sexual phase that normally produces sperm cells during reproduction.: See Usage note at sex1

    • Botany. designating or relating to a plant or its reproductive structure producing or containing microspores.

    • Botany. (of seed plants) staminate.

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a male person; masculine: a male voice.

  2. comprising male people: a male choir.

  3. Machinery. made to fit into a corresponding open or recessed part: a male plug.: Compare female (def. 5).

  1. a male person.

  2. Biology. an animal, plant, or plant structure that normally produces sperm cells as part of the process of reproduction.

Origin of male

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Middle French ma(s)le, from Latin masculus; see masculine

synonym study For male

6. See man. 1-4. Male, masculine, virile are adjectives that describe men and boys or attributes and conduct culturally ascribed to them. Male, which is applied to plants and animals as well as to human beings, is often used as a biological or physiological descriptor, classifying individuals on the basis of their potential or actual ability to inseminate in bisexual reproduction. It contrasts with female in all such uses: his oldest male relative; the male parts of the flower. Masculine refers essentially to qualities, characteristics, or behaviors deemed by a culture or society to be especially appropriate to or ideally associated with men and boys. In American and Western European culture, these have traditionally included features such as strength, forthrightness, and courage: a firm, masculine handshake; a masculine impatience at indecision. Virile implies a vigor and muscularity associated with mature manhood and often carries a suggestion of sexual or procreative potency: his virile good looks; a swaggering, virile walk. See also manly.

Opposites for male

Other words from male

  • male·ness, noun
  • an·ti·male, noun, adjective
  • in·ter·male, adjective
  • su·per·male, noun

Words that may be confused with male

Words Nearby male

Other definitions for Male (2 of 3)

[ mah-ley, -lee ]

  1. a city in and the capital of the Maldives.

Other definitions for male- (3 of 3)


  1. a combining form meaning “evil,” occurring in loanwords from Latin: malediction.

Origin of male-

From Latin; see origin at mal- Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use male in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for male (1 of 2)


/ (meɪl) /

  1. of, relating to, or designating the sex producing gametes (spermatozoa) that can fertilize female gametes (ova)

  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of a man; masculine

  1. for or composed of men or boys: a male choir

  2. (of gametes) capable of fertilizing an egg cell in sexual reproduction

  3. (of reproductive organs, such as a testis or stamen) capable of producing male gametes

  4. (of flowers) bearing stamens but lacking a functional pistil

  5. electronics mechanical engineering having a projecting part or parts that fit into a female counterpart: a male plug

  1. a male person, animal, or plant

Origin of male

C14: via Old French from Latin masculus masculine

Derived forms of male

  • maleness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Malé (2 of 2)


/ (ˈmɑːleɪ) /

  1. the capital of the Republic of Maldives, on Malé Island in the centre of the island group. Pop: 90 000 (2005 est)

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

Scientific definitions for male


[ māl ]

  1. In organisms that reproduce sexually, being the gamete that is smaller and more motile than the other corresponding gamete of the same species (the female gamete). The sperm cells of higher animals and plants are male gametes.

  2. Possessing or being a structure that produces only male gametes. The testicles of humans are male reproductive organs. Male flowers possess only stamens and no carpels.

  1. A male organism.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.