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.
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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus