late 14c., "of the female sex," from O.Fr. feminin
, from L. femininus
"feminine" (in the grammatical sense at first), from femina
"woman, female," lit. "she who suckles," from base of felare
"to suck, suckle" (see fecund
). Sense of "woman-like, proper to or characteristic of women" is recorded from mid-15c.