Student Dictionary

2 entries found for female.
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Main Entry: 1fe·male
Pronunciation: primarystressfemacron-secondarystressmamacrl
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English female "a girl or woman," an altered form of femel, femelle (same meaning), from early French femelle and Latin femella, both meaning "a girl or woman," from earlier Latin femella "a young woman, girl," from femina "woman" --related to FEMININE
: a female plant or animal
Word History In the 14th century, female appeared in English with such spellings as femel, femelle, and female. The word comes from the Latin femella, meaning "young woman, girl," which in turn is based on femina, meaning "woman." In English, the similarity in form and sound between the words female and male led people to use only the female spelling. This closeness also led to the belief that female comes from or is somehow related to male. However, apart from the influence of male on the modern spelling of female, there is no link between the origins of the two words.

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