woman

[ woom-uhn ]
/ ˈwʊm ən /

noun, plural wom·en [wim-in]. /ˈwɪm ɪn/.

verb (used with object)

adjective

of women; womanly.
female: a woman plumber.

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Idioms for woman

    be one's own woman, (of females) to be free from restrictions, control, or dictatorial influence; be independent.

Origin of woman

First recorded before 900; Middle English womman, wimman, Old English wīfman(n), wīfmon(n), equivalent to wīf “female, wife, woman” + man(n) “human being, man”; see origin at wife, man

synonym study for woman

Woman, female, lady are nouns referring to an adult female human being, one paradigm of gender and biological sex for adult human beings. Woman is the general term. It is neutral, lacking either favorable or unfavorable implication, and is the most commonly used of the three: a wealthy woman; a woman of strong character, of unbridled appetites. In scientific, statistical, and other objective use, female is the neutral contrastive term to male and may apply to plants and animals also: 104 females to every 100 males; Among lions, the female is the chief hunter. Female is sometimes used in disparaging contexts: a gossipy female; a conniving female. Lady meaning “refined, polite woman” is a term of approval or praise: a real lady in all things; to behave like a lady. When used as a form of address, lady may be polite or neutral in tone: Ladies, did you hear about the new brunch menu with bottomless mimosas? However, in the singular it is often perceived as rude: Hey, lady, I don’t have all day.

usage note for woman

1. Although formerly woman was sometimes regarded as demeaning and lady was the term of courtesy, woman is the designation preferred by most modern female adults: League of Women Voters; American Association of University Women. Woman is the standard feminine parallel to man. As a modifier of a plural noun, woman, like man, is exceptional in that the plural form women is used: women athletes; women students. The use of lady as a term of courtesy has diminished somewhat in recent years ( the lady of the house ), although it still survives in a few set phrases ( ladies' room; Ladies' Day ). Lady is also used, but decreasingly, as a term of reference for women engaged in occupations considered by some to be menial or routine: cleaning lady; saleslady. See also girl, lady, -woman.

OTHER WORDS FROM woman

wom·an·less, adjectivean·ti·wom·an, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH woman

lady, woman (see synonym study at the current entry; see usage note at the current entry)

Definition for woman (2 of 2)

-woman

a combining form of woman: chairwoman; forewoman; spokeswoman.

usage note for -woman

Feminine compounds ending in -woman are equivalent to the masculine compounds in -man. When the person referred to is a woman, the feminine form is often, but not always, used: alderman, alderwoman; assemblyman, assemblywoman; chairman, chairwoman; congressman, congresswoman; spokesman, spokeswoman; businessman, businesswoman. However, some forms ending in -man are applied to women, and occasionally terms in -man are specified by legal code: Alderman Dorothy Lavelle. In general, the practice in current edited written English is to avoid the -man form in reference to a woman or the plural -men when mixed sexes are involved. Instead, a sex-neutral term is used: councilmembers rather than councilmen and councilwomen; representative or legislator rather than congressman or congresswoman. See also chairperson, -man, -person.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for woman

British Dictionary definitions for woman

woman
/ (ˈwʊmən) /

noun plural women (ˈwɪmɪn)

verb (tr)

rare to provide with women
obsolete to make effeminate

Other words from woman

Related prefixes: gyno-, gynaeco-

Derived forms of woman

womanless, adjectivewoman-like, adjective

Word Origin for woman

Old English wīfmann, wimman; from wife + man (human being)
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

Idioms and Phrases with woman

woman

see feel like oneself (new woman); marked man (woman); (woman) of few words; own person (woman); right-hand man (woman); scarlet woman.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.