1. the state of being a woman, or the period of time when someone is a woman
2. all women considered as a group
Origin and usage
Womanhood is formed from the noun ‘woman’ and the suffix ‘-hood’. The word is first recorded in one of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’, the Man of Law’s Tale, written at the end of the 14th century.
Womanhood is part of a group of English nouns that end with the suffix -hood. Others include childhood, fatherhood, manhood and widowhood. Womanhood means both the state of being a woman and all women as a group. One of the most common verb collocates of womanhood is ‘celebrate’, which seems very appropriate on International Women’s Day.
“Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.”
(Virginia Woolf, ‘A Room of One’s Own’)
girlhood, motherhood, parenthood, sisterhood