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  1. a person bearing an X and Y chromosome pair in the cell nuclei and normally having a penis, scrotum, and testicles, and developing hair on the face at adolescence; a boy or man.
  2. an organism of the sex or sexual phase that normally produces a sperm cell or male gamete.
  3. Botany. a staminate plant.
  1. of, relating to, or being a male animal or plant.
  2. pertaining to or characteristic of a male person; masculine: a male voice.
  3. composed of males: a male choir.
  4. Botany.
    1. designating or pertaining to a plant or its reproductive structure producing or containing microspores.
    2. (of seed plants) staminate.
  5. Machinery. made to fit into a corresponding open or recessed part: a male plug.Compare female(def 8).

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

See more synonyms for on
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for maleness

Historical Examples of maleness

  • His manhood, or rather his maleness, rose powerfully in him, in a sort of mastery.

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence

  • Maleness did not of itself prevent either long hours or dirty premises.

  • Because of their humanness has come all the noble growth of civilization, in spite of their maleness.

  • Sex—that is to say, maleness and femaleness—is present from the moment of birth, and in every act or deed of every child.

  • Biologists now generally prefer to say that a fertilized egg is "predisposed" to maleness or femaleness, instead of "determined."

    Taboo and Genetics

    Melvin Moses Knight, Iva Lowther Peters, and Phyllis Mary Blanchard

British Dictionary definitions for maleness


  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
  3. for or composed of men or boysa male choir
  4. (of gametes) capable of fertilizing an egg cell in sexual reproduction
  5. (of reproductive organs, such as a testis or stamen) capable of producing male gametes
  6. (of flowers) bearing stamens but lacking a functional pistil
  7. electronics mechanical engineering having a projecting part or parts that fit into a female counterparta male plug
  1. a male person, animal, or plant
Derived Formsmaleness, noun

Word Origin for male

C14: via Old French from Latin masculus masculine


  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

Word Origin and History for maleness

1660s, from male (adj.) + -ness.



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.



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

maleness in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or designating the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova.
  1. A member of the sex that begets young by fertilizing ova.
  2. A man or boy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

maleness in Science


  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.