Word of the Day


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1. the state of being a woman, or the period of time when someone is a woman

2. all women considered as a group

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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’)

Related words

girlhood, motherhood, parenthood, sisterhood

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.


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