Oxford English Dictionary The definitive record of the English language From the second edition : woman, n.
Forms case-inflexions in OE. The regular ME. By c the rounding of wi- to wu- is clearly established, and is at that time characteristic of western ME. The form womman appears in the late 13th century first in western textsand the i pl. From c woman and women became regular spellings for sing. From at least the 16th century, the only variety in the pronunciation of the pl.
Title of Chapter MS. Is the theffe man or owman or bothe? Merry W. O'man, forbeare.
Grant Sk. Russell Coll.
An adult female human being. The context may or may not have special reference to sex or to adult age: cf. Horn Harl. PynsonWumman. Bulloch Pynours 63 Euery pynour baytht man and voman.
Sir M. Mar-all iii. Bride iii.
Brown Toleration 81 No ecclesiastical power can reside in a heathen, a woman, or. Gurney vii. Bob v, A girl she was not, but a woman of at least nine and twenty. Laud MS. Rolls Ofte in wimmen [v. Horn 67 Of alle wymmane [v. Wheeler Westmld. Poems Percy Soc. Lloyd Pilgr. Leslie's Hist. Pemberton Red Morn viii, The women first, and one by one. Saints x. Leet Bk.
Mary at Hill For the makkyng of the nev vemens pevys. Camden I. Halkett Autobiog.
Camden 22, I dresed him in the wemen's habitt that was prepared, wch fitted his Highnese very well. Generically without article: The female human being; the female part of the human race, the female mefting. Hence gen. Alfred in O. And what is bettre than a good womman? Song, When lovely woman stoops to folly.
Faith All that woman's care or woman's affection could do to soften off her end was done. As a mode of address. Now except dial. Oh heauens! O heauens!
Nay, I prythee woman. West Hecuba iv. Lover Handy Andy ix, Arrah, woman, don't be talkin' your hte to me. This language to me! With allusion to qualities conventionally attributed to the female sex, as mutability, capriciousness, proneness to tears; also to their traditional conment to a position of inferiority or subjection phr. Four Elem. Percy Soc. VIII b, This peace was called the womennes peace, for because that notwithstandyng this conclusion, yet neither the Emperoure trusted the Frenche kyng, nor he neither trusted nor loued hym.
Two Gent. Your reason? I haue no other but a womans reason: I thinke him so, because I thinke him so. John v. IV, ii. Jeronimo i. Hughes Man of Sin ii. Irving Astoria xxi.
Where was his squaw, that he should be obliged to make a woman of himself? Fairlegh xxvii, Don't make such a fuss; you're as bad as a woman. Now always with the. The essential qualities of a woman; womanly characteristics; that which makes a woman what she is; womanliness; occas. Taylor Artevelde i. After man n.
Benjamin Allen. With qualification denoting status, occupation, or character, woman enters into many compounds or collocations more or less permanent, corresponding to those of man man n. Gissing Odd Women I.
More decidedly one of the new women than you yourself—isn't she? March Both the cow-woman and the scum-woman are well within the range of the comprehension of the Bawling Brotherhood, but the new woman is a little above him. In phraseological collocations corresp. Surtees III. Projects A Woman of Sense and Breeding. Andrews i.
Lady Mary W.
Montagu] read all the books she could lay her hands on. Shaw Major Barbara iii. Priestley Good Companions iii. Bowen House in Paris ii. You know what I mean. Innes Black Tide v. In the 16th and 17th centuries freq. To Rdr. Heywood Prov. As who saith, woe to the man! Poesie ii. Times' Whistle v. Flecknoe Misc. Woe has end, when 'tis alone: But in woman never none. Say of Woman worst ye can, What prolongs their woe, but man?
Aiijb, Yt is an old sayeng That women be the dyuells netts and hed of syn.
Women in Hazl. Poesie iii. Policy Xij, Is it not an old Prouerbe.