• (RP, America) IPA: /ˈwʊmən/
  • (New Zealand) IPA: /ˈwʊmɘn/

woman (plural women)

  1. An adult female human.
    • 2012, Kate Welsh, Substitute Daddy (ISBN 1459232844):
      "There is nothing wrong with Melissa or the way she was raised. She is a sweet, kind, intelligent woman with a generous heart and more love for her child than you and Mother ever showed for either of your children."
  2. (collective) All females collectively; womankind.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 2 ↗:
      “ […] it is not fair of you to bring against mankind double weapons ! Dangerous enough you are as woman alone, without bringing to your aid those gifts of mind suited to problems which men have been accustomed to arrogate to themselves.”
    • 1972, Helen Reddy, "I Am Woman," first line:
      I am Woman, hear me roar / In numbers too big to ignore
    • 1997, Bob Grant, Let's Be Heard, page 42:
      For if modern woman is so intent on keeping her surname alive, why not demand it be passed along to her children?
    • 2011, Eileen Gray and the Design of Sapphic Modernity: Staying In, page 109:
      Unsurprisingly, if modern man is a sort of camera, modern woman is a picture.
  3. A female person, usually an adult; a (generally adult) female sentient being, whether human, supernatural, elf, alien, etc.
    • 2003, Amelia Jones, The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, Psychology Press (ISBN 9780415267052), page 37:
      To be born a woman has been to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men.
    • 2007, Clifford B. Bowyer, The Siege of Zoldex, Silver Leaf Books, LLC (ISBN 9780974435466), page 307:
      One of the elves, a woman with long auburn hair, was garbed identically to the two dwarves.
    • 2008, Christopher Paolini, Brisingr: Or The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular - Inheritance Book Three (ISBN 9780375826726), page 549:
      Clearing a space between the tables, the men tested their prowess against one another with feats of wrestling and archery and bouts with quarterstaves. Two of the elves, a man and a woman, demonstrated their skill with swordplay— […]
    • 2014, Oisin McGann, Kings of the Realm: Cruel Salvation, Penguin UK (ISBN 9780141348704):
      There was a pair of burly dwarves – a woman and a man – bearing the markings of the formidable Thane Guards.
  4. A wife (or sometimes a fiancée or girlfriend).
    • 1914, D. H. Lawrence, Study of Thomas Hardy and Other Essays, chapter 7: "Of Being and Not-Being":
      And then, when he lies with his woman, the man may concurrently be with God, and so get increase of his soul.
  5. A female who is extremely fond of or devoted to a specified type of thing. (Used as the last element of a compound.)
    • 2004, Hyveth Williams, Secrets of a Happy Heart: A Fresh Look at the Sermon on the Mount, page 70:
      Perhaps my problem is that I am a cat woman. I can't imagine any finicky feline (and they all are that at one time or another) slobbering over anyone, even a beloved owner, the way a dog does.
  6. A female attendant or servant.
    • circa 1564–1616 William Shakespeare:
      By her woman I sent your message.
Synonyms Verb

woman (womans, present participle womaning; past and past participle womaned)

  1. To staff with female labor.
    • 2010, Julia Glass, The Widower's Tale, page 77
      The information desk is now manned (womaned) by someone whose main job is to help you reserve time slots for the computers or guide you through the arduous process of “logging on.”
  2. (transitive) To make effeminate or womanish.
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, III. ii. 50:
      I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief / That the first face of neither on the start / Can woman me unto't.
  3. (transitive) To furnish with, or unite to, a woman.
    • 1603, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice, III. iv. 191:
      And think it no addition, nor my wish, / To have him see me woman'd.
  4. (transitive) To call (a person) "woman" in a disrespectful fashion.

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