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womanly

[woo m-uh n-lee]
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adjective
  1. like or befitting a woman; feminine; not masculine or girlish.
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adverb
  1. in the manner of, or befitting, a woman.
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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

See more synonyms for womanly on Thesaurus.com
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. 2018

Examples from the Web for womanliness

Historical Examples

  • 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.

    Afterwards

    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

womanly

adjective
  1. possessing qualities, such as warmth, attractiveness, etc, generally regarded as typical of a woman, esp a mature woman
  2. characteristic of or belonging to a woman
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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