Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English wommanli Related forms
). See woman
wom·an·li·ness, wom·an·ness, noun
un·wom·an·ly, adjective, adverb
Synonyms2. 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