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[fem-uh-nin] /ˈfɛm ə nɪn/
pertaining to a woman or girl:
feminine beauty; feminine dress.
having qualities traditionally ascribed to women, as sensitivity or gentleness.
effeminate; womanish:
a man with a feminine walk.
belonging to the female sex; female:
feminine staff members.
Grammar. noting or pertaining to that one of the three genders of Latin, Greek, German, etc., or one of the two genders of French, Spanish, Hebrew, etc., having among its members most nouns referring to females, as well as other nouns, as Latin stella “star,” or German Zeit “time.”.
noun, Grammar.
the feminine gender.
a noun or other element in or marking that gender.
Origin of feminine
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French: feminine of feminin < L of fēminīnus, equivalent to fēmin(a) woman (see fetus) + -īnus -ine1
Related forms
femininely, adverb
feminineness, noun
antifeminine, adjective
antifemininely, adverb
antifeminineness, noun
half-feminine, adjective
hyperfeminine, adjective
hyperfemininely, adverb
hyperfeminineness, noun
overfeminine, adjective
overfemininely, adverb
pseudofeminine, adjective
superfeminine, adjective
ultrafeminine, adjective
unfeminine, adjective
unfemininely, adverb
Can be confused
female, feminine (see synonym study at female)
effeminate, effete, feminine, womanish, womanly (see synonym study at womanly)
2. See female. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unfeminine
Historical Examples
  • They don't wear stays, and they do wear trousers; so she will be unfeminine enough, even for you.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • She was tall, but not so tall as to be unfeminine in her height.

    The Bertrams Anthony Trollope
  • But if these things are unfeminine it is no answer to say that they fit into each other.

    What's Wrong With The World G.K. Chesterton
  • It is so unfeminine and indelicate for young ladies to have appetites.

    Eventide Effie Afton
  • All the rest had used sex for sentiment, never for force; to them, Eve was a tender flower, and Herodias an unfeminine horror.

  • It is a sin and a shame for a woman to be untidy or careless in her dress; it is unfeminine!

    Not Like Other Girls Rosa N. Carey
  • We have always thought it a most unfeminine fancy for a lady to enjoy eating the head of any thing, and the brain particularly.

  • You may be thankful it was my indecorous, unfeminine self, and not any of the proprieties.

    Merkland Mrs. Oliphant
  • She saw she had betrayed herself, became ashamed, and shame in her unfeminine nature meant rage.

    An Eagle Flight Jos Rizal
  • Independence is unfeminine: what a pity that starvation and insanity are not unfeminine also!

    A New Atmosphere Gail Hamilton
British Dictionary definitions for unfeminine


suitable to or characteristic of a woman: a feminine fashion
possessing qualities or characteristics considered typical of or appropriate to a woman
effeminate; womanish
  1. denoting or belonging to a gender of nouns, occurring in many inflected languages, that includes all kinds of referents as well as some female animate referents
  2. (as noun): German Zeit ``time'' and Ehe ``marriage'' are feminines
Derived Forms
femininely, adverb
feminineness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin fēminīnus, from fēmina woman
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unfeminine



mid-14c., "of the female sex," from Old French femenin (12c.) "feminine, female; with feminine qualities, effeminate," from Latin femininus "feminine" (in the grammatical sense at first), from femina "woman, female," literally "she who suckles," from root of felare "to suck, suckle" (see fecund). Sense of "woman-like, proper to or characteristic of women" is recorded from mid-15c.

The interplay of meanings now represented in female, feminine, and effeminate, and the attempt to make them clear and separate, has led to many coinages: feminitude (1878); feminile "feminine" (1640s); feminility "womanliness" (1838); femality (17c., "effeminacy;" 1754 "female nature"). Also feminality (1640s, "quality or state of being female"), from rare adjective feminal (late 14c.), from Old French feminal. And femineity "quality or state of being feminine," from Latin femineus "of a woman, pertaining to a woman."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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