Origin of male

1300–50; Middle English < Middle French ma(s)le < Latin masculus. See masculine
Related formsmale·ness, nounan·ti·male, noun, adjectivein·ter·male, adjectivesu·per·male, noun
Can be confusedmail malemacho male masculine. (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for male

1. See man1. 4–7. 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 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.

Antonyms for male


[mah-ley, -lee]


a city in and the capital of the Maldives.


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

Origin of male-

From Latin; see origin at mal-


[mawl-deevz, mal-dahyvz]


a republic in the Indian Ocean, SW of India, consisting of about 2000 islands: British protectorate 1887–1965. 115 sq. mi. (298 sq. km). Capital: Male.
Also called Maldive Islands.
Related formsMal·div·i·an [mawl-div-ee-uh n, mal‐] /mɔlˈdɪv i ən, mæl‐/, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for male

Contemporary Examples of male

Historical Examples of male

  • She simply lived by her wits, and perhaps by some want of that article in her male friends.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Fabri's wife and another woman were announced as good actresses of male parts.


    Edward J. Dent

  • The two figures in male attire broke into a laugh simultaneously.


    W. A. Fraser

  • This afternoon a male biped is coming to this house, and he's not coming to see Eileen.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • There came a clattering of hoofs on the road and the sound of male voices.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for male



of, relating to, or designating the sex producing gametes (spermatozoa) that can fertilize female gametes (ova)
of, relating to, or characteristic of a man; masculine
for or composed of men or boysa male choir
(of gametes) capable of fertilizing an egg cell in sexual reproduction
(of reproductive organs, such as a testis or stamen) capable of producing male gametes
(of flowers) bearing stamens but lacking a functional pistil
electronics mechanical engineering having a projecting part or parts that fit into a female counterparta male plug


a male person, animal, or plant
Derived Formsmaleness, noun

Word Origin for male

C14: via Old French from Latin masculus masculine


pl n

Republic of Maldives a republic occupying an archipelago of 1087 coral islands in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka: came under British protection in 1887; became independent in 1965 and a republic in 1968; a member of the Commonwealth. The economy and infrastructure were severely damaged in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Official language: Divehi. Official religion: (Sunni) Muslim. Currency: rufiyaa. Capital: Malé. Pop: 393 988 (2013 est). Area: 298 sq km (115 sq miles)Also known as: the Maldive Islands



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

Word Origin and History for male

late 14c., "male human being; male fish or land animal," from Old French masle (adj.) "masculine, male, adult," also used as a noun (12c., Modern French mâle), from Latin masculus "masculine, male, worthy of a man" (cf. Provençal mascle, Spanish macho, Italian maschio), diminutive of mas (genitive maris) "male person or animal, male."


late 14c., from Old French male, masle "male, masculine; a male" (see male (n.)). Mechanical sense of "part of an instrument that penetrates another part" is from 1660s.


probably from Sanskrit maladvipa "garland of islands," from mala "garland" + dvipa "island." Related: Maldivian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

male in Medicine




Of, relating to, or designating the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova.


A member of the sex that begets young by fertilizing ova.
A man or boy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

male in Science




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.
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.


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