[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 womanly

Contemporary Examples of womanly

Historical Examples of womanly

  • Under fire you said a most courageous, womanly, creditable thing.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • They possessed all the manly arts and some of the womanly arts as well.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • Nor say thou, that virtue, in the eye of Heaven, is as much a manly as a womanly grace.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • It was full of that womanly gentleness which fitted her so well.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Your generosity carries you away, and your divine, womanly pity and kindness.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

British Dictionary definitions for womanly



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