Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to femaleness: femininity


a. Of or denoting the sex that produces ova or bears young.
b. Characteristic of or appropriate to this sex in humans and other animals: female hormones; female fashions.
c. Consisting of members of this sex. See Usage Note at lady.
2. Of or denoting the gamete that is larger and less motile than the other corresponding gamete. Used of anisogamous organisms.
3. Botany
a. Designating an organ, such as a pistil or ovary, that functions in producing seeds after fertilization.
b. Bearing pistils but not stamens; pistillate: female flowers.
4. Designed to receive or fit around a complementary male part, as a slot or receptacle: the female end of an extension cord.
1. A female organism.
2. A woman or girl.

[Middle English, alteration (influenced by male, male) of femelle, from Old French, from Latin fēmella, diminutive of fēmina, woman; see dhē(i)- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

fe′male′ness n.
Usage Note: Perhaps because the use of female to modify a noun for a professional, as in female doctor, can seem derogatory if it seems to imply that professionals are male by default, some writers use woman or women as modifiers when identifying the sex of the referent is necessary. Despite this tendency, in our 2016 survey, overwhelming majorities of the Usage Panel (97 percent) found the use of both female and male to be acceptable in the sentences This book is written by a ______ author and This anthology features ______ authors. In contrast, the Panelists overwhelmingly rejected man author (92 percent), man authors (96 percent), and men authors (81 percent). Woman authors was a bit less unpopular (it was rejected by 74 percent of the panel), but it was rejected largely because of the clash between the singular modifier and plural noun, not because woman was being used as a modifier. The Panel was more favorable toward woman author, which was accepted by 43 percent of Panelists, and women authors, which was accepted by 64 percent, the only phrase among the batch surveyed that received a majority acceptance.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.femaleness - the properties characteristic of the female sex
sexuality, gender, sex - the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles; "she didn't want to know the sex of the foetus"
maleness, masculinity - the properties characteristic of the male sex


The quality or condition of being feminine:
References in periodicals archive ?
Along with many Catholic faithful and theologians, we detect gender stereotypes in magisterial documents where femaleness is defined primarily in terms of motherhood, receptivity and nurturing, and maleness is defined primarily in terms of fatherhood, initiation and activity.
The use of quotation marks is necessitated because maleness and femaleness is a quite subjective determination.
Generally, it is used as part of everyday language to identify maleness or femaleness, depending on an individual's biological features.
In the next two chapters Richardson explores the ways in which gender conceptions influenced how the fields of cytogenetics, behavioural genetics, and sociobiology invested the essence of femaleness and maleness in theories regarding the nature of the X and Y chromosomes.
For women with breast cancer, the attack on your femaleness is a big deal,'' Hull said.
Even when I was defying those opinions, I was still accepting my basic femaleness.
She maintains that men dominate the news media, journalists reflect that culture, and the resulting gendered news contributes to the idea that femaleness "is different, alien to politics, or even unwelcome in politics.
Maleness and femaleness, and a certain social purpose, are necessarily inter-defined, one cannot fully explain either maleness or femaleness without reference to the other and to a certain social good.
The commentary explains that a loss of maleness is the result of a strong unwholesome deed, and its replacement by femaleness is due to a weak wholesome deed.
For example: in both plays men signify their femaleness by wearing whiteface.
In her methodological discussion, Fu explains her objective to show that Chinese-Canadian women writers at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium do not attempt to speak for or to give voice to a collective Chinese-Canadian identity, but want to carve a unique space for showcasing distinct and diverse notions of femaleness, body, and sexuality.
Women do not all think alike and it is the diversity of perspective and not the femaleness of it that matters," she says.