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woman

[woo m-uh n] /ˈwʊm ən/
noun, plural women
[wim-in] /ˈwɪm ɪn/ (Show IPA)
1.
the female human being (distinguished from man).
2.
an adult female person.
3.
a female attendant to a lady of rank.
4.
a wife.
5.
the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness.
6.
a sweetheart or paramour; mistress.
7.
a female employee or representative:
A woman from the real estate agency called.
8.
a female person who cleans house, cooks, etc.; housekeeper:
The woman will be in to clean today.
9.
women collectively:
Woman is no longer subordinate to man.
verb (used with object)
10.
to put into the company of a woman.
11.
to equip or staff with women.
12.
Obsolete. to cause to act or yield like a woman.
adjective
13.
of women; womanly.
14.
female:
a woman plumber.
Idioms
15.
be one's own woman, (of females) to be free from restrictions, control, or dictatorial influence; be independent.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English womman, wimman, Old English wīfman, equivalent to wīf female + man human being; see wife, man1
Related forms
womanless, adjective
antiwoman, adjective
Can be confused
lady, woman (see synonym study at the current entry; see usage note at the current entry)
Synonym Study
Woman, female, lady are nouns referring to adult human beings who are biologically female; that is, capable of bearing offspring. Woman is the general term. It is neutral, lacking either favorable or unfavorable implication, and is the most commonly used of the three: a wealthy woman; a woman of strong character, of unbridled appetites. In scientific, statistical, and other objective use, female is the neutral contrastive term to male and may apply to plants and animals also: 104 females to every 100 males; Among lions, the female is the chief hunter. Female is sometimes used in disparaging contexts: a gossipy female; a conniving female. Lady meaning “refined, polite woman” is a term of approval or praise: a real lady in all things; to behave like a lady.
Usage note
2. Although formerly woman was sometimes regarded as demeaning and lady was the term of courtesy, woman is the designation preferred by most modern female adults: League of Women Voters; American Association of University Women. Woman is the standard feminine parallel to man. As a modifier of a plural noun, woman, like man, is exceptional in that the plural form women is used: women athletes; women students. The use of lady as a term of courtesy has diminished somewhat in recent years (the lady of the house), although it still survives in a few set phrases (ladies' room; Ladies' Day). Lady is also used, but decreasingly, as a term of reference for women engaged in occupations considered by some to be menial or routine: cleaning lady; saleslady. See also girl, lady, -woman.

-woman

1.
a combining form of woman:
chairwoman; forewoman; spokeswoman.
Usage note
Feminine compounds ending in -woman are equivalent to the masculine compounds in -man. When the person referred to is a woman, the feminine form is often, but not always, used: alderman, alderwoman; assemblyman, assemblywoman; chairman, chairwoman; congressman, congresswoman; spokesman, spokeswoman; businessman, businesswoman. However, some forms ending in -man are applied to women, and occasionally terms in -man are specified by legal code: Alderman Dorothy Lavelle. In general, the practice in current edited written English is to avoid the -man form in reference to a woman or the plural -men when members of both sexes are involved. Instead, a sex-neutral term is used: council members rather than councilmen and councilwomen; representative or legislator rather than congressman or congresswoman. See also chairperson, -man, -person.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for woman
  • A woman got onto the elevator, recognized him and said, i have to tell you, mr.
  • He suspects that this is to prevent him from pursuing his affair with the latter woman.
  • Pshaw, he would not send such a foolish ugly old woman as you about with his message.
  • A woman brings a hen for the ceremony, while a man brings a rooster.
  • More intriguingly, they sometimes manifest themselves as an old man and an old woman.
  • But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.
  • From the early modern period, their name has become a term for woman warriors in general.
  • The woman the unnamed woman reads to her children the story of juan and his martyrdom.
  • Monsoon, is a goodnatured woman who often pretends to be rather senile.
  • The fertility rate is a demographic measure of the number of children per woman.
British Dictionary definitions for woman

woman

/ˈwʊmən/
noun (pl) women (ˈwɪmɪn)
1.
an adult female human being
2.
(modifier) female or feminine: a woman politician, woman talk
3.
women collectively; womankind
4.
the woman, feminine nature or feelings: babies bring out the woman in her
5.
a female servant or domestic help
6.
a man considered as having supposed female characteristics, such as meekness or timidity
7.
(informal) a wife, mistress, or girlfriend
8.
(informal) the little woman, one's wife
9.
woman of the streets, a prostitute
verb (transitive)
10.
(rare) to provide with women
11.
(obsolete) to make effeminate
related
prefixes gyno- gynaeco-
Derived Forms
womanless, adjective
woman-like, adjective
Word Origin
Old English wīfmann, wimman; from wife + man (human being)
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 woman
n.

late Old English wimman (plural wimmen), literally "woman-man," alteration of wifman (plural wifmen), a compound of wif "woman" (see wife) + man "human being" (in Old English used in reference to both sexes; see man (n.)). Cf. Dutch vrouwmens "wife," literally "woman-man."

The formation is peculiar to English and Dutch. Replaced older Old English wif and quean as the word for "female human being." The pronunciation of the singular altered in Middle English by the rounding influence of -w-; the plural retains the original vowel. Meaning "wife," now largely restricted to U.S. dialectal use, is attested from mid-15c. Women's liberation is attested from 1966; women's rights is from 1840, with an isolated example in 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for woman
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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woman in Technology
tool
A replacement for the Unix man documentation browsing command. Version 1.157 of woman runs under/on 386BSD, OSF, Apollo Domain/OS, BSD, HP-UX, IBM RS-6000, Irix, Linux, Solaris, Sony NEWS, SunOS, Ultrix, Unicos.
Posted to comp.sources.reviewed Volume 3, Issue 50 on 05 Jul 1993 by Arne Henrik Juul , archive-name woman-1.157.
FTP USC, USA (ftp://usc.edu/archive/usenet/sources/comp.sources.reviewed/volume3/woman-1.157/). FTP Imperial, UK (ftp://src.doc.ic.ac.uk/usenet/comp.sources.reviewed/volume3/woman-1.157/).
(1995-03-21)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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woman in the Bible

was "taken out of man" (Gen. 2:23), and therefore the man has the preeminence. "The head of the woman is the man;" but yet honour is to be shown to the wife, "as unto the weaker vessel" (1 Cor. 11:3, 8, 9; 1 Pet. 3:7). Several women are mentioned in Scripture as having been endowed with prophetic gifts, as Miriam (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4, 5), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), Noadiah (Neh. 6:14), Anna (Luke 2:36, 37), and the daughters of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8, 9). Women are forbidden to teach publicly (1 Cor. 14:34, 35; 1 Tim. 2:11, 12). Among the Hebrews it devolved upon women to prepare the meals for the household (Gen. 18:6; 2 Sam. 13:8), to attend to the work of spinning (Ex. 35:26; Prov. 31:19), and making clothes (1 Sam. 2:19; Prov. 31:21), to bring water from the well (Gen. 24:15; 1 Sam. 9:11), and to care for the flocks (Gen. 29:6; Ex. 2:16). The word "woman," as used in Matt. 15:28, John 2:4 and 20:13, 15, implies tenderness and courtesy and not disrespect. Only where revelation is known has woman her due place of honour assigned to her.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with woman
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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