female

Definitions

General English

  • adjective relating to women or girls
  • adjective relating to the sex of an animal, insect or bird which gives birth to young or produces eggs
  • adjective relating to a flower which produces seeds

Agriculture

  • adjective referring to a flower which has carpels but not stamens, or a plant that produces such flowers

Cars & Driving

  • adjective fitting inside another part, usually where two parts form a connection of some kind

Media Studies

  • adjective describes a component or part of a component such as an electric socket that has a recess designed to receive a corresponding projecting part

Origin & History of “female”

The symmetry between female and male is a comparatively recent development. Female started as Latin fēmella, a diminutive form of fēmina ‘woman’ (whence English feminine (14th c.)). this in turn was a derivative of Latin fēlāre ‘suck’, and so etymologically signified ‘person from whom milk is sucked’ (it came ultimately from the Indo-European base *dhēi-, which also produced Latin filia ‘daughter’ and filia ‘son’, source of English filial (15th c.)). Fēmella passed into English via Old French femelle as femele, but as early as the end of the 14th century began to change, by association with male, to female.
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