pronounthird person singular
1Used to refer to a woman, girl, or female animal previously mentioned or easily identified.‘my sister told me that she was not happy’
- ‘She mentioned she had a friend who loved girl groups, but who was too ill to travel to the parties in London.’
- ‘Another girl decided she had to re-do her hair every time it fell out of place.’
- ‘A crowd gathers and someone asks the girl what she has said to enrage her brother so.’
- ‘The girl cried until she was red in the face and trembling, as her mother rocked her.’
- ‘I'd love to contact this girl because she was really sweet and I hope this letter will find her.’
- ‘One woman pilot who was previously rejected because she was too small has already joined the force.’
- ‘He had seen his future wife Nancy when she was only 13 and decided at once that she was the only girl for him.’
- ‘When my sister was a little girl she asked my mother the name of a certain old lady.’
- ‘He is a lonely old man who saw a young girl and told her she was beautiful.’
- ‘A teenager has been left deeply shocked after being attacked by a gang of up to ten girls as she walked home.’
- ‘He says his wife likes it because she can easily transport their grandchildren.’
- ‘If you give Danielle another chance, I think she would change and be the girl she once used to be.’
- ‘Four years ago she won two medals in Malaysia, but only in a warm-up competition.’
- ‘The Queen was recently said to have told a visitor she expected Paris to win.’
- ‘It seems the perils of plucky Paula are to continue, whether she wins or loses.’
- ‘Wie said she was trying to make a run for the money in the last round, and she wanted to win this year.’
- ‘So, losing no time, the organisers wrote to Michele and told her that she had won.’
- ‘If someone thinks a vehicle has been taken unjustly, he or she has to apply to the police.’
- ‘A teenager has died after she was involved in a disturbance with a gang of youths in the Falkirk area.’
- ‘Last year Lauren had to pull out because she had an accident on her bicycle shortly before the event.’
- 1.1Used to refer to a ship, vehicle, country, or other inanimate thing regarded as female.‘I was aboard the St Roch shortly before she sailed for the Northwest Passage’
- ‘This was the Danish ship Flora, and she steamed straight for the anchored Gwladmena.’
- ‘The crew had raced out and were able to get them off the ship before she sank.’
- ‘He also moved to dispel what he said was the myth that Queen Mary never sailed in convoy because she was too quick.’
- ‘From the equator she will sail past the Cape of Good Hope and then to Cape Leeuwin in Australia.’
- ‘It is a fine sight in the summer wind as she sails away and becomes a dot on the horizon.’
- ‘The ship was sailing from New York to Liverpool when she was struck off the coast of Ireland.’
- ‘Work is expected to begin shortly, and she may be ready to be sunk by next April.’
- ‘The ship is now in the Falklands where she has taken over from HMS Dumbarton Castle.’
- ‘When the ship was lost, relatives were wrongly informed that she had hit a mine.’
- ‘A small ship with a big name and a big heart, she was obviously a source of immense pride for her new owner.’
- ‘The ship is returning to the Gulf, where she has been a regular visitor in recent years.’
- 1.2Used to refer to a person or animal of unspecified sex.
- ‘only include your child if you know she won't distract you’
- 1.3Any female person.
- ‘she who rocks the cradle rules the world’
- 1.4West Indian Her or hers.
- ‘give she lavender oil’
- 1.5Australian, New Zealand It (used to refer to something not usually regarded as female)
- ‘reckon some decent weather and she'll be right’
1A female; a woman.‘is that a he or a she?’
- ‘I hope I haven't mixed up her sex, I think she's a she…’
- 1.1in combination Female.‘a she-bear’
feminine, women's, of women, womanly, womanlike, she-
- ‘a she-wolf’
The use of the pronoun he to refer to a person of unspecified sex, once quite acceptable, has become problematic in recent years and is now usually regarded as old-fashioned or sexist. One of the responses to this has been to use she in the way that he has been used, as in only include your child if you know she won't distract you. In some types of writing, for example books on childcare or child psychology, this use of she has become quite common. In most contexts, however, it is likely to be distracting in the same way that he now is, and alternatives such as ‘he or she’ or ‘they’ are preferable
- who's she—the cat's mother?
1Used as a mild reproof, especially to a child, for impolite use of the pronoun she rather than a person's name.
2Expressing the belief that a woman or girl has a high opinion of herself or is putting on airs.
Middle English probably a phonetic development of the Old English feminine personal pronoun hēo, hīe.