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[woo m-uh n-lee] /ˈwʊm ən li/
like or befitting a woman; feminine; not masculine or girlish.
in the manner of, or befitting, a woman.
Origin of womanly
1250-1300; Middle English wommanli(che). See woman, -ly
Related forms
womanliness, womanness, noun
half-womanly, adjective
unwomanly, adjective, adverb
Can be confused
effeminate, effete, feminine, womanish, womanly (see synonym study at the current entry)
2. 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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for womanliness
Historical Examples
  • It means equal or greater labour, as well, and a sad breaking down of all womanliness.

  • She was such a child as she stood there, yet with something in her, too, of womanliness.

    Mistress Anne Temple Bailey
  • Miss M. will rank with any of them in womanliness or gifts or grace.

  • And crowning it all was a sweet grace and womanliness which was good to see.

    The Love Story of Abner Stone Edwin Carlile Litsey
  • The womanliness of that last motion was a thing for a man to wonder at.

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
  • That off-hand manner was not Frank Raban's ideal of womanliness.

    Old Kensington Miss Thackeray
  • But to express the graces and endowments of a woman, it is her womanliness that is emphasized.

    Social Life Maud C. Cooke
  • If this, then, be "womanliness," can athletic games injure it?

    Lawn Tennis for Ladies Mrs. Lambert Chambers
  • The very maidenly idea wakened her womanliness—to reproach her remainder of pride, not to see more accurately.

  • Because I thought I might perhaps have the courage and the womanliness to give it back to you.

    What Every Woman Knows James M. Barrie
British Dictionary definitions for womanliness


possessing qualities, such as warmth, attractiveness, etc, generally regarded as typical of a woman, esp a mature woman
characteristic of or belonging to a woman
Derived Forms
womanliness, noun
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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