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Semantic Field Presentation. Words used to describe females. Etymology of “Female”. Middle English femelle (14th c.), adjective (old French) femelle, n. Latin femella, diminutive of femina woman

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Semantic field presentation

Semantic Field Presentation

Words used to describe females

Etymology of female

Etymology of “Female”

  • Middle English femelle (14th c.), adjective (old French) femelle, n. Latin femella, diminutive of femina woman

  • In Latin, fmella=little woman; but in popular Lat. it appears as the German weibchen (denotes lower female animals); denotes sex in general

  • In 14th c. the ending was confused with the adj. suffix -el, -al; the present form female arises from association with male.

Definitions of female

Definitions of “Female”

  • A.adj. I. Belonging to the sex which bears offspring.

  • b. of animals

  • 2.transf. of plants, trees a. When the sex is attributed only from some accident of habit, color, etc.

  • II. Of or pertaining to those of this sex.

  • III. Applied to various material and immaterial things, denoting simplicity, inferiority, weakness or the like

  • IV. A distinctive term for that part of an instrument or contrivance which is adapted to receive the corresponding or male part.

Etymology of woman

Etymology of “Woman”

  • The word “Woman is derived from the old English “w断mon”, a noun which quite literally meant wife-man. The use of the term can be traced from 1200 to about 1500.

1200: wi- to wu late 14th:pl. ”wommen”

Late 13th c.: “womman”

From 1400: Woman and Women become preferred spellings

Pronunciation variation lies solely in first vowel sound

1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800

Definitions of woman

Definitions of “Woman”

  • I. i. a. An adult female human being

  • b. The female human being; the female part of the human race, the female sex “Of all the domestic animals invented for the service of man in South Africa, the most useful is woman.”

  • in pregnant use with reference to (irregular) intercourse with women. “His vice is women.”“If only he could avoid women.”

  • d. As a mode of address. Now used chiefly derogatorily or jocularly. “Hold your tongue, woman!”

  • e. With allusion to qualities conventionally attributed to the female sex, as mutability, capriciousness, proneness to tears; also to their traditional consignment to a position of inferiority or subjection. “We conquered you-we made women of you!”“Men must work and women must weep.”

Definitions of woman1

Definitions of “Woman”

  • 2. A female servant, esp. a lady's maid or personal attendant.

  • 3. A lady-love, a mistress.

  • 4. A wife.

  • 5. The reverse of a coin “If it’s heads, we’ll go. If it’s woman we stay.” woman=tails

  • Additions since 1993:

    * domestic cleaning woman

    * “women and children first”

Etymology of lady

Etymology of “Lady”

  • Old English roots; hlaf (bread)+dig (to knead) : hlaefdige

  • Like the corresponding masculine designation hl�ord, lord, the word is not found outside English.

  • The claim that lady comes from bread+the root, to knead is difficult to explain

Definitions of lady

Definitions of “Lady”

  • I. As a designation for woman

  • 1. A mistress in relation to servants or slaves; the female head of a household

  • 2. a. A woman who rules over subjects, or to whom obedience or feudal homage is due; the feminine designation corresponding to lord.

  • 3.a. The Virgin Mary.

  • 4. a. A woman of superior position in society, or to whom such a position is conventionally or by courtesy attributed.



  • Oxford English Dictionary mother, n.1 (and int.)

  • 1. a. The female parent of a human being; a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth

  • 3. A woman who exercises control over an institution, etc., and similar uses.

  • d. A woman who runs a brothel, a madam

  • f.colloq. A female owner of a pet, esp. of a dog.

  • g.U.S.slang. An effeminate homosexual man; spec. one who acts as a mentor to a younger man.

  • b. orig. and chiefly U.S.slang (derogatory). your mother! and variants: used as a retort expressing extreme derision.

  • 7. Slang org. and chiefly US, =Motherfucker

Semantic field presentation


  • Old French dame (11th c.)

  • 1. A female ruler

  • 2. a. The “lady” of the house

  • c. A girl; a woman. Slang

  • 6.b. The legal title prefixed to the name and surname of the wife of a knight or baronet

Semantic field presentation


  • Of obscure etymology

  • 1. A child or young person of either sex

  • 2. a. A female child; commonly applied to all young unmarried women

  • b. A maid-servant

  • c. A sweetheart, lady-love

  • d. (a girl about the town, a girl of ease): a prostitute

  • (the) girl next door, the girl in a conventional romance; a trusting, sweet, and faithful but usually unimaginative young woman



  • 1. A chicken; esp. a young chicken; sometimes, the young of any bird.

  • 2.esp. The young bird still in the egg or only just hatched.

  • 3.a. Applied to human offspring

  • b. A girl; a young woman. Slang

  • chick flick, a film predominantly based around female characters; (a) a film designed to appeal to male sexual fantasy in its exploitative portrayal of female characters; (b) a film perceived, or marketed, as appealing particularly to women, typically featuring strong female characters and themes of romance, personal relationships, and female solidarity

Semantic field presentation


  • Superceded in use by its own diminutive “baby” (Babe, and not baby, was used in the Bible.)

  • 1. An infant, a young child

  • 2. A doll, a puppet

  • 3. a. fig. a childish person

  • b. a girl or woman (often as a form of address)

Semantic field presentation


  • 1. A pet form of the name Dorothy

  • 2. a. An image of a human being (commonly of a child or lady) used as a plaything

  • b. A dummy used by a ventriloquist

  • 3.transf. A pretty, but unintelligent or empty person, especially when dressed up; a pretty, but silly or frivolous woman. Also in more general sense: a woman; a girl; especially a very beautiful or attractive woman

Semantic field presentation


  • Of doubtful origin

  • 1. a. A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance

  • b. A kitchen-maid

  • c. A troublesome or awkward creature

  • 2. a. A woman of a low or loose character

  • b. In playful use, or without serious imputation of bad qualities “Nanny, thou art a sweet slut.”

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