[ meyl ]
/ meɪl /



Origin of male

1300–50; Middle English < Middle French ma(s)le < Latin masculus. See masculine


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.

Related forms

male·ness, nounan·ti·male, noun, adjectivein·ter·male, adjectivesu·per·male, noun

Can be confused

mail malemacho male masculine. (see synonym study at the current entry)

Definition for male (2 of 4)


[ mah-ley, -lee ]
/ ˈmɑ leɪ, -li /


a city in and the capital of the Maldives.

Definition for male (3 of 4)


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

Origin of male-

From Latin; see origin at mal-

Definition for male (4 of 4)


[ mawl-deevz, mal-dahyvz ]
/ ˈmɔl divz, ˈmæl daɪvz /


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 forms

Mal·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

British Dictionary definitions for male (1 of 3)


/ (meɪl) /



a male person, animal, or plant

Derived Forms

maleness, noun

Word Origin for male

C14: via Old French from Latin masculus masculine

British Dictionary definitions for male (2 of 3)


/ (ˈmɔːlˈdiːvz) /

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

British Dictionary definitions for male (3 of 3)


/ (ˈmɑːleɪ) /


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

Medicine definitions for male


[ māl ]


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.

Science definitions for male


[ māl ]


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.