1. Of or relating to men or boys; male.
2. Characterized by or possessing qualities traditionally attributed to men, such as aggressiveness.
3. Grammar Relating or belonging to the gender of words or forms that refer chiefly to males or to things grammatically classified as male.
4. Music Ending on an accented beat: a masculine cadence.
a. The masculine gender.
b. A word or word form of the masculine gender.
2. Archaic A male person.
[Middle English masculin, from Old French, from Latin masculīnus, from masculus, male, diminutive of mās.]
mascu·line·ness, mas′cu·lin·ity (-lĭnĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.