• (adjective) IPA: /ɪˈfɛmɪnət/
  • (verb) IPA: /ɪˈfɛmɪneɪt/


  1. (often, derogatory, of a man or boy) Exhibiting behaviour or mannerisms considered typical of a female; unmasculine.
    • An effeminate and unmanly foppery.
  2. (obsolete) Womanly; tender, affectionate, caring.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene vii]:
      Gentle, kind, effeminate remorse.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Verb

effeminate (effeminates, present participle effeminating; past and past participle effeminated)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To make womanly; to unman.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      , Folio Society, 2006, vol.1, p.134:
      the studie of sciences doth more weaken and effeminate mens minds, than corroborate and adapt them to warre.
    • 1693, [John Locke], “§106”, in Some Thoughts Concerning Education, London: […] A[wnsham] and J[ohn] Churchill, […], OCLC 1161614482 ↗:
      It will not corrupt or effeminate their [children's] minds.
  2. (intransitive) To become womanly.

effeminate (plural effeminates)

  1. An effeminate person.
    • 1976, Psychiatry (volumes 39-40, page 246)
      The effeminates are males with obviously recognizable traits and mannerisms; […]
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