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- woman: [OE] A woman is etymologically a ‘wife-man’ – that is to say, a ‘female person’. The word was compounded in the Old English period from wīf ‘woman’ (source of modern English wife) and man ‘person’ (source of modern English man). Already by the end of the Old English period the f of wifman was disappearing, giving wiman, and the influence of the w sound started to turn this into woman in the 13th century. Woman did not finally oust the two more ancient words for ‘female person’, wife and the now obsolete quean, until the end of the Middle English period.
=> man, wife
- woman (n.)
- "adult female human," late Old English wimman, wiman (plural wimmen), literally "woman-man," alteration of wifman (plural wifmen) "woman, female servant" (8c.), a compound of wif "woman" (see wife) + man "human being" (in Old English used in reference to both sexes; see man (n.)). Compare Dutch vrouwmens "wife," literally "woman-man."
It is notable that it was thought necessary to join wif, a neuter noun, representing a female person, to man, a masc. noun representing either a male or female person, to form a word denoting a female person exclusively. [Century Dictionary]
The formation is peculiar to English and Dutch. Replaced older Old English wif and quean as the word for "female human being." The pronunciation of the singular altered in Middle English by the rounding influence of -w-; the plural retains the original vowel. Meaning "wife," now largely restricted to U.S. dialectal use, is attested from mid-15c. Woman-hater "misogynist" is from c. 1600. Women's work is from 1660s. Women's liberation is attested from 1966; women's rights is from 1840, with an isolated example in 1630s.
- 1. When the right woman comes along, this bad dream will be over.
- 2. The Inspector remembered her as a small, mousy woman, invariably worried.
- 3. These days work plays an important part in a single woman's life.
- 4. She has now changed into a happy, self-confident woman.
- 5. She was the only woman in Shell's legal department.
[ woman 造句 ]