Womanly, womanlike, womanish mean having the traits or qualities that a culture regards as especially characteristic of or ideally appropriate to adult women. Womanly is usually a term of approval, suggesting the display of traits admired by the society, such as self-possession, modesty, motherliness, and calm competence: a womanly consideration for others; with womanly skill and efficiency.
Womanlike may be a neutral synonym for womanly, or it may suggest mild disapproval: a womanlike dignity; womanlike tears and recriminations.
Womanish is usually disparaging; applied to women it suggests traits not generally socially approved: a womanish petulance; womanish disregard for the rules.
Applied to men it suggests traits culturally deemed inappropriate for men and (in what is now often regarded as a sexist notion) to be found in women: a womanish shrillness in his speech; a womanish way of stamping his foot in anger.
See also female