[woo m-uh n-lee]


like or befitting a woman; feminine; not masculine or girlish.


in the manner of, or befitting, a woman.

Origin of womanly

1250–1300; Middle English wommanli(che). See woman, -ly
Related formswom·an·li·ness, wom·an·ness, nounhalf-wom·an·ly, adjectiveun·wom·an·ly, adjective, adverb
Can be confusedeffeminate effete feminine womanish womanly (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for womanly

2. Womanly, womanlike, womanish mean having the traits or qualities that a culture regards as especially characteristic of or ideally appropriate to adult women. Womanly is usually a term of approval, suggesting the display of traits admired by the society, such as self-possession, modesty, motherliness, and calm competence: a womanly consideration for others; with womanly skill and efficiency. Womanlike may be a neutral synonym for womanly, or it may suggest mild disapproval: a womanlike dignity; womanlike tears and recriminations. Womanish is usually disparaging; applied to women it suggests traits not generally socially approved: a womanish petulance; womanish disregard for the rules. Applied to men it suggests traits culturally deemed inappropriate for men and (in what is now often regarded as a sexist notion) to be found in women: a womanish shrillness in his speech; a womanish way of stamping his foot in anger. See also female.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for womanliness

Historical Examples of womanliness

  • But she had lost none of her womanliness; rather, the contrary.

    The Octopus

    Frank Norris

  • She was such a child as she stood there, yet with something in her, too, of womanliness.

    Mistress Anne

    Temple Bailey

  • She has been aroused to remember that womanliness is not chiefly decorative.

    Creative Unity

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • In Iris' voice was a womanliness which showed his story had reached the depths of her being.


    Kathlyn Rhodes

  • But to express the graces and endowments of a woman, it is her womanliness that is emphasized.

    Social Life

    Maud C. Cooke

British Dictionary definitions for womanliness



possessing qualities, such as warmth, attractiveness, etc, generally regarded as typical of a woman, esp a mature woman
characteristic of or belonging to a woman
Derived Formswomanliness, noun
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