1. Of or relating to women or girls.
2. Characterized by or possessing qualities traditionally attributed to women, such as demureness.
3. Effeminate; womanish.
4. Grammar Relating or belonging to the gender of words or forms that refer chiefly to females or to things grammatically classified as female.
1. The feminine gender.
2. A word or form belonging to the feminine gender.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fēminīnus, from fēmina, woman; see dhē(i)- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
femi·nine·ness, fem′i·nini·ty (-nĭnĭ-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.