Meaning of female in English:


Pronunciation /ˈfiːmeɪl/

See synonyms for female

Translate female into Spanish


  • 1Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes.

    ‘a herd of female deer’
    • ‘twenty-two of the participants were female’
    • ‘The weight for both male and female polar bears has declined, and female bears are having fewer cubs.’
    • ‘There have been cases of female animals ‘adopting’ motherless young ones of other species.’
    • ‘Practically all lamb and pork comes from female animals.’
    • ‘Like other mammals, female mice manufacture prenatally all the eggs they will ever have.’
    • ‘Infested berries will have a discoloured area where the egg was inserted by the female fly.’
    • ‘The embryos were then inserted into female mice that gave birth to mice with this genetic defect.’
    • ‘The human female menstrual cycle has an average duration of about 29.5 days.’
    • ‘A test diet was given to a group of female mice for 6 weeks after weaning at 4 weeks of age.’
    • ‘Whole peripheral blood samples from two healthy female donors were taken.’
    • ‘Researchers observed two adult female killer whales and their calves.’
    1. 1.1Relating to women or the female gender.
      ‘a female name’
      • ‘Beauty isn't, of course, characteristic only of the female form.’
      • ‘Most reproductions of the work are from a later alteration that obscured her obvious female characteristics.’
      • ‘I nearly dozed, although I did notice a surprising amount of female laughter in the audience.’
      • ‘I suppose my main gripe is the gender politics of this show, which I'm assuming is targeting a mainly female audience.’
      • ‘Interestingly, she was named after her father who wanted his daughter to have a female version of his name.’
      • ‘Both are female-orientated, with strong female casts and a predominantly female audience.’
      • ‘I want you to look at this person through the female gaze.’
      • ‘The idea of the body, usually the female body, has always been central to my work.’
      • ‘I grew up around incredibly strong women and continue to be inspired by the female strength I see around me.’
      • ‘At all income levels, women are still concentrated in traditionally female areas of study.’
      feminine, women's, of women, womanly, womanlike, she-
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    2. 1.2(of a plant or flower) having a pistil but no stamens.
      ‘Unpollinated ovaries were prepared by bagging the female flowers before anthesis.’
      • ‘The male flowers are on the tassels at the top of the plant; the female flowers form the silk that hangs out of the developing ears.’
      • ‘This monoecious species has male flowers occurring in catkins and female flowers occurring in clusters.’
      • ‘Under field conditions small plants are often male, with production of both male and female flowers increasing with plant size.’
      • ‘Male and hermaphroditic flowers are slightly larger and a brighter yellow than female flowers.’
      • ‘While in the bloom, they mate, feed, and brush pollen onto female flowers.’
      • ‘Male flowers are pale yellow, whereas female flowers are white; inflorescences of both sexes are similar in size.’
      • ‘Male flowers are at the top of the spike and female flowers at the base.’
      • ‘There are male and female flowers on different plants.’
      • ‘Nearby, male nutmeg trees are planted next to the blooming female trees with the red laced nutmeg peeking out of their ripe yellow pods.’
      • ‘One male date palm can produce enough pollen for 49 female trees.’
      • ‘The female flower sits closer to the vine and has a swollen embryonic fruit at its base.’
      • ‘However, the size distribution of male and female trees broadly overlapped.’
      • ‘Planting female trees in one's own yard will attract and then trap incoming airborne pollen from males of their own species.’
      • ‘That's because the female flower is a small terminal spike on the end of the current season's growth.’
      • ‘If the goal is to just reduce the overall number of trees and stop further spreading, cut female trees only.’
      • ‘The female flowers mature in late summer and are used to add bitterness, favor, and aroma to beer.’
      • ‘It is grown to produce the narcotic drugs hashish and marijuana, made primarily from its female flowers.’
      • ‘The female tree is the best for the home garden, as they are the best fruit bearer.’
      • ‘If the flower is female and comes with a small courgette attached, deep fry it.’
    3. 1.3(of parts of machinery, fittings, etc.) manufactured hollow so that a corresponding male part can be inserted.
      ‘A basket holds the coil of roofing nails and adjusts for different nails If you incorrectly install a female fitting on a nailer or stapler.’
      • ‘The tubing seat in the female fitting has a 42-degree taper.’


  • 1A female animal or plant.

    ‘females may lay several hundred eggs in two to four weeks’
    • ‘The cubs are cared for by all the females in the pride, and will suckle from other females as well as from their mother.’
    • ‘The females manoeuvre for position in the middle of the shoal - with the biggest in the centre.’
    • ‘The sharks stay as late as December some years, before the females head north into Mozambique.’
    • ‘The females enter the spawning bays a few days later and spawning normally occurs around dawn and dusk.’
    • ‘It is the females that inflict the bite to extract the blood they need to assist the production of their eggs.’
    • ‘When the females arrive they rest up in deeper water until conditions are perfect for spawning.’
    • ‘The life cycle begins as the adult female lays its eggs while burrowing into the skin.’
    • ‘The young aphids mature to be winged or wingless females, which give birth to living young during the summer.’
    • ‘The males have brilliant sky-blue wings while the females are brown and far less conspicuous.’
    • ‘ Females live about forty days and lay from 125 to 250 eggs.’
    1. 1.1A female person; a woman or girl.
      • ‘both males and females accumulate economic knowledge at a similar rate’
      lady, adult female, female
      View synonyms


    the female of the species
    • Women or a woman.

      • ‘it was one of those subtle hints that the female of the species sometimes use’
      • ‘You recognize a mating ritual of a man trying to assert his own among the female of the species.’
      • ‘The striking thing is how most discussions on looks - or lack of them - centre on the female of the species.’
      • ‘The female of the species is fast losing its claim to being the fairer sex.’
      • ‘The female of the species are supposed to be tough nuts.’
      • ‘The female of the species did even better then, with their portfolios actually growing by 2 %.’
      • ‘Acknowledge that needlework is no longer the preserve of the female of the species.’
      • ‘I do not want to lose my right to be a democrat, I do not want to see the female of the species declassified.’
      • ‘There have been reports of dozens of roses, love letters and chocolates wooing the female of the species.’
      • ‘The men come with a use-by date and duly depart leaving the stage - and the beach - to the female of the species.’
      • ‘You can distinguish the female of the species by her exposed cleavage and teetering walk.’


Middle English from Old French femelle, from Latin femella, diminutive of femina ‘a woman’. The change in the ending was due to association with male, but the words male and female are not linked etymologically.