woman


woman
womanless, adj.
/woom"euhn/, n., pl. women /wim"in/, v., adj.
n.
1. the female human being (distinguished from man).
2. an adult female person.
3. a female attendant to a lady of rank.
4. a wife.
5. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness.
6. a sweetheart or paramour; mistress.
7. a female employee or representative: A woman from the real estate agency called.
8. a female person who cleans house, cooks, etc.; housekeeper: The woman will be in to clean today.
9. women collectively: Woman is no longer subordinate to man.
10. be one's own woman, (of females) to be free from restrictions, control, or dictatorial influence; be independent.
v.t.
11. to put into the company of a woman.
12. to equip or staff with women.
13. Obs. to cause to act or yield like a woman.
adj.
14. of women; womanly.
15. female: a woman plumber.
[bef. 900; ME womman, wimman, OE wifman, equiv. to wif female + man human being; see WIFE, MAN1]
Syn. WOMAN, FEMALE, LADY are nouns referring to adult human beings who are biologically female; that is, capable of bearing offspring. 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.
Usage. 2. 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.

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(as used in expressions)
Woman's Christian Temperance Union

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Universalium. 2010.

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