- 1 [countable] an adult female human men, women, and children a 24-year-old woman I prefer to see a woman doctor. women voters
- 2 [uncountable, singular] female humans in general (informal) She's all woman! (= has qualities that are typical of women) These days, a woman should not have to do everything her husband demands.
- 3 [countable] (in compounds) a woman who comes from the place mentioned or whose job or interest is connected with the thing mentioned a businesswoman a Congresswoman a horsewoman More Aboutgenderways of talking about men and women When you are writing or speaking English, it is important to use language that includes both men and women equally. Some people may be very offended if you do not.the human race Man and mankind have traditionally been used to mean “all men and women.” Many people now prefer to use humanity, the human race, human beings, or people.jobs The suffix -ess in names of occupations such as actress, hostess, and waitress shows that the person doing the job is a woman. Many people now avoid these. Instead, you can use actor or host, (although actress and hostess are still very common) or a neutral word, such as server for waiter and waitress. Neutral words like assistant, worker, person, or officer are now often used instead of -man or -woman in the names of jobs. For example, you can use police officer instead of policeman or policewoman, and spokesperson instead of spokesman or spokeswoman. Neutral words are very common in newspapers, on television and radio, and in official writing. When talking about jobs that are traditionally done by the other sex, some people say:a male secretary/nurse/model or a femaledoctor/scientist/driver. However, this is now not usually used unless you need to emphasize which sex the person is or it is still unusual for the job to be done by a man/woman:My daughter prefers to see a female doctor. They have a male nanny for their sons.pronouns He used to be considered to cover both men and women:Everyone needs to feel he is loved. This is not now acceptable. Instead, after everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody, etc. one of the plural pronouns they, them, and their is often used:Does everybody know what they want? Somebody’s left their coat here. I hope nobody’s forgotten to bring their passport with them. Some people prefer to use he or she, his or her, or him or her in speech and writing:Everyone knows what’s best for him or herself.He/she or (s)he can also be used in writing:If in doubt, ask your doctor. He/she can give you more information.(You may find that some writers just use “she” or alternate between “he” and “she.”) These uses can seem awkward when they are used a lot. It is better to try to change the sentence, using a plural noun. Instead of saying:A baby cries when he or she is tired, you can sayBabies cry when they are tired.
- 4[countable] a female worker, especially one who works with her hands We used to have a woman to do the cleaning.
- 5[singular] (old-fashioned) a rude way of addressing a female person in an angry or important way Be quiet, woman!
- 6[countable] (sometimes disapproving) a wife or sexual partner He's got a new woman in his life. see also fallen woman, kept woman, other woman Idioms
nounjump to other results
to act or think independently, not following others or being ordered Working for herself meant that she could be her own woman.
be your own man/womanjump to other results