Definitions

Unless noted otherwise, all definitions are taken from either the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition (1989) with Additions Series Volumes 1-3 (1997), or Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, (2002) and are correspondingly labeled.

A


accept

OED

verb
gen. To take or receive what is offered. Hence, 
1a. To take or receive (a thing offered) willingly, or with consenting mind; to receive (a thing or person) with favour or approval, e.g. to receive as a prospective husband. Also, to take or receive with patience or resignation, to tolerate.  
b. Of a female animal: to permit (copulation). 
2. to accept the person or face of: To receive any one's advances with favour, to treat him as a persōna grāta, to favour him (esp. on corrupt grounds, as personal attractions, rank, influence, power to bribe). Hence to accept persons: To show (corrupt) partiality or favouritism. 
3a. To receive as sufficient or adequate; hence, to admit, agree to, believe. 
b. Law. to accept service of a writ: to agree to consider as valid its informal delivery. 
4. To take formally (what is offered) with contemplation of its consequences and obligations; to take upon oneself, to undertake as a responsibility. 
 ¶In the preceding senses accept is frequently followed by of. 
5a. Comm. To accept a bill or draft (said of the person to whom the bill or letter of exchange is addressed, or one who takes his place, or accepts ‘for the honour’ of the drawer or endorser): to acknowledge formally its receipt or presentation, and undertake the liability or obligation to meet it when due; to agree or promise to pay.
b. absol.  

Webster’s

transitive verb  
1. obsolete : to treat with partiality or favoritism
2a. to receive with consent (something given or offered) : assent to the receipt of
b. to be able to take or hold or be designed to take or hold (something applied, affixed, or impressed)
3 to give admittance to (as into one's company or into a particular group) : give approval to
4a. : to take without protest : endure or tolerate with patience
b. to regard as proper, suitable, or normal : acknowledge or recognize as appropriate, permissible, or inevitable : agree to
c. to regard and hold as true : believe in
d. to receive into the mind : UNDERSTAND
5a. to make an affirmative or favorable response to (as an invitation or offer) : undertake the responsibility of (as a task or employment)
5b. to allow (a train) onto the particular section of a line under local control —  used of a block operator in the manual block-signal system
6. to assume orally, in writing, or by conduct an obligation to pay
7. of a deliberative body : to receive (a report) officially (as from a committee)
8. to be sexually responsive to;  especially : to allow to mount and copulate —  usually used of a female domestic mammal

intransitive verb
to receive favorably something offered —  usually used with of

F


female

OED

A. adjective
I. Belonging to the sex which bears offspring. 
1a. of human beings. In Law: heir, line female. Also predicatively. 
b. of animals; often = she-. 
2. transf. of plants, trees:
a. When the sex is attributed only from some accident of habit, colour, etc.; sometimes after L. femina. spec. female fern = lady-fern. 
b. esp. in female hemp = fimble-hemp: see fimble n. 
c. Of the parts of a plant: Fruit-bearing; resulting in a new individual. 
d. Of a blossom or flower: Having a pistil and no stamens; pistillate; fruit-bearing. 
II. Of or pertaining to those of this sex. 
3. Composed or consisting of women, or of female animals or plants. 
4a. Of or pertaining to a woman or women. 
b. Engaged in or exercised by women. 
5. Peculiar to or characteristic of womankind. 
†6. Womanish; effeminate; weakly. Obs. 
III. Applied to various material and immaterial things, denoting simplicity, inferiority, weakness or the like. 
†7a. Simple; plain, undisguised. b.A.III.7.b Inferior. 
8. Said of the inner layer of horn on a horse's foot, or of bark on a tree. 
9. Said of precious stones, on account of paleness or other accident of colour. Cf. 2 a. 
†10a. female rime: = feminine rime; see feminine. 
b. Mus. female cadence, -close (see quot. 1954). Cf. feminine a. 6 b, quot. 1844. 
IV.
11a. A distinctive term for that part of an instrument or contrivance which is adapted to receive the corresponding or male part. 
b. (See quot.) 
c.female gauge, an internal or bored gauge’ (Lockwood 1888); ‘female joint, the socket or faucet-piece of a spigot-and-faucet joint’ (Ogilv.); female screw, socket, a circular hole or socket having a spiral thread adapted to receive the thread of the male screw. 

B. noun
1. A female animal:
a. of lower animals. Often in his female: his mate. 
b. generally, including the human species. 
2. A female person; a woman or girl.
a. In express or consciously implied antithesis with male; esp. one of the female individuals in any class or enumeration comprising persons of both sexes. 
b. As a mere synonym for ‘woman’. Freq. in phr. the female of the species.
    The simple use is now commonly avoided by good writers, exc. with contemptuous implication. 
3. attrib., as female-bar, -determiner, -determining, -foe; female-bane, transl. of Gr. θηλυϕόνον aconite. lit. ‘a thing deadly to females’; female circumcision = clitoridectomy; female impersonation, the personating of a female by a male on the stage; hence female (im)personator; female pill, any preparation intended as an abortifacient.

Webster’s

noun
1. an individual that bears young or produces eggs as distinguished from one that begets young: as
a. a female animal
b. a woman or girl as distinguished from a man or boy
2. WOMAN — now usually used disparagingly
3. a pistillate plant

adjective 
1a. of, by, for, or being the sex that bears young or a member of that sex: as
 (1) being a woman or girl or composed of members of the female sex : WOMAN
 (2) belonging to, peculiar to, or characteristic of a woman
 (3) engaged in or exercised by women
b. exhibiting femaleness;  specifically : producing or capable of producing eggs —  symbol ♀
2a. having some quality (as passiveness, gentleness, delicacy of color or sound, highness of pitch) associated with the female sex 
b.
 (1) designed with a hollow into which a corresponding male part fits
 (2) faced with a character in intaglio
3. FEMININE 4
4. of a dialect or speech form   : normally used only by women or by men speaking to women
5. of, associated with, or being the material, receptive, or productive principle of the cosmos —  compare YIN
synonyms FEMININE, WOMANLY, WOMANLIKE, WOMANISH, EFFEMINATE, LADYLIKE:
 FEMALE, opposed to male, stresses the fact of sex and usually lacks the rich connotation of various of the others in this set
 FEMININE, opposed to masculine, has practically supplanted
 FEMALE in references to what is characteristic of or appropriate to women, especially women's attitudes, qualities, and attributes
 WOMANLY, opposed to manly and also, from another point of view, to girlish, often describes qualities that befit a woman or make her particularly attractive
 WOMANLIKE may be used in reference to faults or foibles ascribed to women
 WOMANISH is often derogatorily used in situations in which manliness might be wanted or expected
 EFFEMINATE often describes or suggests unmanly softness, delicacy, enervation, or lack of strength. In reference to girls and young women
 LADYLIKE suggests decorous propriety; in references to boys and men it sarcastically suggests daintiness, delicacy, softness, primness, and lack of masculine force and strength
feminine

OED

OED's definition

Webster’s

Webster's definition

found

OED

v.2
1a. trans. To lay the base or substructure of (a building, etc.); to set, fix, or build on a firm ground or base. (Sometimes used simply = build, erect.) 
b. To serve as the base or foundation of. 
2. To build (an edifice, town, etc.) for the first time; to begin the building of, be the first builder of. 
3a. fig. To set up or establish for the first time (an institution, etc.), esp. with provision for its perpetual maintenance; to originate, create, initiate (something which continues to exist thenceforward). 
†b. To endow, make provision for the maintenance of (persons who are to perform certain functions). Obs. 
4a. To set or establish (something immaterial) on a firm basis; to give a basis or firm support to; to construct as on a ground or underlying reason or principle; to base, ground. Const. on, upon. 
b. const. in. 
†c. with obj. a person: To establish in a firm position (in controversy, etc.); to ground in (a subject of instruction, etc.); also refl. to take one's stand upon (a ground for argument, etc.). Obs. 
d. Of a thing: To serve as, or furnish, a basis or ground for. 
e. intr. (for refl.: cf. 4 c). To base oneself or one's opinion, to base itself, to be based (on, upon). Chiefly Sc. 
†5. To fasten or attach to. Also fig. Obs.

Webster’s

v.3
transitive verb
1. to take the first steps or measures in building : build for the first time
2. to lay the base or foundation of : set on something solid for support
3. to establish (as an institution) often with provision for future maintenance : ORIGINATE, INITIATE
4a. to establish on a firm basis : fix firmly
b. to serve as a basis for
founder

OED

noun 2
1a. ‘One who raises an edifice; one who presides at the erection of a city’ (J.).
†b. A maker or creator. Obs.
2. One who sets up or institutes for the first time; one who gives its first beginning to (an institution, sect, etc.). Formerly in wider use, an originator (of a practice or custom).
3. One who founds or establishes (an institution) with an endowment for its perpetual maintenance.
†4. One who supports or maintains another. Obs.
5. founder member, a person belonging to or associated with the founding of a society or institution;

Webster’s

noun 1
one that founds, establishes, or builds

I


inspire

OED

verb
I. Literal (physical) senses.
1a. trans. To breathe or blow upon or into. Obs. or arch.
†b. intr. To breathe or blow. Obs.
†2a. trans. To blow or breathe (air, etc.) upon or into. (In quot. 1536, To ‘breathe’, utter.) Obs.
b. To breathe (life, a soul, etc.) in or into. (Cf. Gen. ii. 7.) In later use, fig.
†c. To produce by blowing or breathing. Obs.
3a. trans. To breathe in, take into the lungs by breathing, inhale. (Opp. to expire 1.)
b. intr. or absol. To draw in the breath.
 
II. Figurative senses.
4. trans. To infuse some thought or feeling into (a person, etc.), as if by breathing; to animate or actuate by some mental or spiritual influence.
a. spec. (Theol., etc.) Said of God or the Holy Spirit, or of a divinity or supernatural being: To influence or actuate by special divine or supernatural agency; used esp. in reference to the prophets, apostles, and Scripture writers
b. gen. To influence, animate, or actuate (a person) with a feeling, idea, impulse, etc.
c. Said of the feeling, influence, etc.
5. To ‘breathe in’ or infuse (a feeling, thought, principle, etc.) into the mind or soul. Const. †to (obs.), in, into.
a. spec. Of a divine or supernatural being: To impart, communicate, or suggest by special divine or supernatural agency; used esp. in reference to the utterances of prophets and apostles, and the writings of Scripture
b. gen. To infuse (something) into the mind; to kindle, arouse, awaken in the mind or heart (a feeling, idea, impulse, purpose, etc.).
6. absol. (from 4 or 5).
7. transf. (from 4 and 5: cf. 1647 in 4 b). trans. To suggest or prompt the utterance of particular views or information on some public matter, or to prompt a speaker or writer to such utterance.

Webster’s

transitive verb
1a. archaic : to breathe or blow into or upon
b. archaic : to infuse (as life) by breathing
c. obsolete : to breathe or blow (as air or vapor) into or upon something
2. to draw in by breathing : breathe in : INHALE
3a. : to influence, move, or guide (as to speech or action) through divine or supernatural agency or power
b. to have an animating, enlivening, or exalting effect upon especially in a degree or with a result suggestive of the workings of some extraordinary power or influence — often used with with; specifically : to stimulate to creative activity in an art
c. ENCOURAGE, IMPEL, MOTIVATE — usually used with
d. AFFECT — usually used with with
4a. to communicate or impart (as an utterance) to an agent through divine or supernatural power
b. to infuse or introduce into the mind or communicate to the spirit : AROUSE, PROVOKE
5a. to bring about : OCCASION, PRODUCE
b. INCITE, FOMENT
6. to cause to be said or written by influence and without acknowledgment of actual source or authorship

R


recognize

OED

verb 1
†1. trans. Sc. Law. = recognosce v. 4. Obs. 
†2a. To look over again; to revise, correct, amend. Obs. 
†b. To reconnoitre. Also absol. Obs. rare. 
†c. To go over again, to expound. Obs.—1 
†3a. To acknowledge by admission, confession, or avowal; to admit (to oneself or another). Obs. 
†b. Const. that or with inf., expressing the fact acknowledged. Obs. (common in 16th c.). 
†c. Const. for. Obs.—1 
4a. To acknowledge by special notice, approval or sanction; to treat as valid, as having existence or as entitled to consideration; to take notice of (a thing or person) in some way. †Also const. to. Also absol.  
b. spec. in U.S. (see quot.). 
c. To admit to consideration, or to a status, as being something. 
5a. To know again; to perceive to be identical with something previously known.  
b. To know by means of some distinctive feature; to identify from knowledge of appearance or character. 
c. To perceive clearly, realize. 
†6a. [Cf. v.2] To know again or further. Obs.—1 
†b. To mark or distinguish again. Obs.—1 
7a. Law. U.S. refl. and intr. To enter into a recognizance.
b. trans. To bind over by a recognizance. ? Obs. 

Webster’s

transitive verb  
1. obsolete 
a. to admit the fact, truth, or validity of
b. REVISE, CORRECT
2a. to recall knowledge of : make out as or perceive to be something previously known
b. to perceive clearly : be fully aware of : REALIZE
3. to acknowledge formally: as
a. to admit as being of a particular status
b. to admit as being one entitled to be heard (as in a meeting) : give the floor to
c(1). to acknowledge the de facto existence of (as a government in a state) c(2). to acknowledge the independence of (as a community or body that has thrown off the sovereignty of a state to which it was subject) and treat as independent or as otherwise effective
4. to acknowledge in some definite way : take notice of: as
a. to acknowledge with a show of approval or appreciation
b. to acknowledge acquaintance with
c. to admit the fact or existence of
5. to bind by a recognizance

intransitive verb
to enter into an obligation of record before a tribunal

W

woman

OED

noun
I1a. An adult female human being. (The context may or may not have special reference to sex or to adult age: cf. man n.1 4 a, c, d.)
    †man or (or and) woman used appositionally = male or (and) female. 
b. Generically without article: The female human being; the female part of the human race, the female sex. Hence gen. woman's = womanly, female, feminine. 
c. pl. in pregnant use with reference to (irregular) intercourse with women. 
d. As a mode of address. (Cf. man n.1 4 e.) Now (except dial. and in renderings of foreign modes of speech) used chiefly derogatorily or jocularly. 
e. With allusion to qualities conventionally attributed to the female sex, as mutability, capriciousness, proneness to tears; also to their traditional consignment to a position of inferiority or subjection (phr. to make a woman of, to bring into submission). 
f. (Now always with the.) The essential qualities of a woman; womanly characteristics; that which makes a woman what she is; womanliness; occas. the feminine side or aspect; †predicatively = feminine, womanish. 
 †g. one's own woman: mistress of oneself, independent. (After man n.1 4 l.) Obs. 
h. In contrast, explicit or implicit, with ‘lady’ (see lady n. 4). 
i. 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.1 4 p) but much less numerous: see the various qualifying words and bondwoman, charwoman, countrywoman, gentlewoman, horsewoman, man-woman, needlewoman, old woman, tire-woman, townswoman, wise woman, young woman, etc. 
    †woman bond, nonce-inversion of bondwoman. first woman = prima donna. little woman: a female child, girl (cf. little man, man n.1 4 f); also, an affectionate or playful form of address to a girl or young woman, esp. one in whom womanly qualities are conspicuous. new woman: a woman of ‘advanced’ views, advocating the independence of her sex and defying convention; hence new-womandom, new-womanish adj. 
j. In phraseological collocations corresp. to those s.v. man n.1 18, as woman of all work, business, colour, fashion, honour, letters, livelihood, pleasure, the people, property, sense, the town, the world: see also these ns. woman about town: see town n. 8 b; woman in the street: see street n. 3 h; woman-to-woman: cf. man n.1 4 h. 
†k. In the 16th and 17th centuries freq. with play on a pseudo-etymological association with woe; also, less freq., between weemen (= women) and we men. Obs. 
l. Proverbs. 
m. hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and var. (see scorn v. 3 a, quot. 1697). Hence woman scorned, used allusively; also as attrib. phr. 
2. A female servant, esp. a lady's maid or personal attendant. Often pl. (†also = womenfolk). 
3. †a.I.3.a A lady-love, mistress. Obs. b.I.3.b A kept mistress, paramour. 
4a. A wife. Now only dial. and U.S.
    Cf. old woman 1 b and the corresp. use of man (man n.1 8). 
†b. The female mate of an animal. Obs. rare. 
5. The reverse of a coin; in reference to the figure of Britannia (q.v.) upon it. (Cf. man n.1 17.) 
II. attrib. and Comb. 
6a. Simple attrib. = ‘of or characteristic of a woman or women, feminine, womanly’: woman-city, woman-eye, woman-flesh, woman-godhead, woman-haunt, woman-luck, etc. 
b. appos.
(a) = ‘female’, esp. with designations of occupation or profession: woman doctor, woman driver, woman-help, woman journalist, woman officer, woman p.c., woman police officer, woman-savage, woman teacher, etc. 
†(b) = ‘having the character of a woman, feminine, womanly; effeminate’. Obs. 
(c) With names of animals, forming designations of creatures having the qualities or properties of a woman and of the particular animal. 
c. objective, as woman-follower, woman-killer, †woman-queller, woman-scorner, woman-slayer, woman-spiter, woman-worship, woman-worshipper, woman-wronger; also woman-bearing, woman-churching, woman-degrading, woman-despising, woman-flogging, woman-murdering, †woman-quelling, woman-worshipping, adjs.; woman-hating adj. and n.; similative and parasynthetic, as woman breasted, woman-faced, woman-fair, woman-headed, woman-hearted, woman-proud, woman-vested adjs.; instrumental, as woman-bred, woman-built, woman-conquered, woman-daunted, woman-governed, woman-made, woman-ridden, woman-tended adjs. 
7. Special comb.: †woman-actor, (a) an actress; (b) an actor who takes women's parts; woman-boat = women's boat (10); woman-body dial., a person of the female sex, woman; woman-born a., born of woman; woman-dangler, one who dangles after women; †woman-errant, one who goes after women; woman-grown a., that has become a woman; woman-hour, an hour's work done by a woman; †woman-house Sc., a laundry: see also women-house (9 c); †woman-keeper, a female nurse; †woman-louper Sc., a whoremonger; woman-mad a., mad after women; woman-man, an effeminate man, or one who in some way resembles a woman; woman-market, a place for the sale (lit. or fig.) of women; woman-movement, the movement for the emancipation of women, or the recognition and extension of women's rights; woman-palaver African, illicit commerce with a woman or women; woman-physician, (a) a woman's doctor; (b) a woman-doctor; woman-post, a female messenger or courier; woman-power, (a) the exercise of authority by women; (b) the number of women available for work; the power of women in work; woman question, a controversy over the rights of women, esp. that in the nineteenth century; woman-raving a. = woman-mad; †woman-reputation, reputation with women; †woman-shoemaker, a maker of women's shoes; woman-slaughter, the killing of a woman by a human being; woman-suffrage, the right of women to vote in public affairs; hence woman-suffragist, an advocate of woman-suffrage; †woman-surgeon, one who beautifies women by the aid of paints, washes, etc.; †woman-tired a. [tire v.2 2], hen-pecked; woman trouble colloq., (a) U.S., gynæcological problems (cf. trouble n. 4); (b) difficulties caused to a man by a relationship with a woman or women; †(on) woman-ways, -wise advs., after the manner of a woman or women; woman-year, a year of a woman's life; esp. used as a cumulative measure in medical tests carried out on a number of different women. 
8. Comb. with woman's, as woman's †poet, woman's tailor; woman's boat = women's boat (see 10); woman's magazine, a magazine designed primarily for women; also (colloq.) woman's mag; freq. attrib., esp. alluding to superficiality or stereotypical attitudes regarded as associated with such productions; woman's man, a lady's man, a gallant; †woman's-meadwort = meadwort 2; woman's movement = woman-movement, sense 7 above; woman's page, a page of a newspaper devoted to topics intended to be of special interest to women; woman's woman, a woman whose qualities are appreciated by other women, a woman who is popular with other women (cf. man's man s.v. man n.1 21); woman's work, work traditionally undertaken by women. 
9. Comb. with women:
a. appos., serving as plurals of combs. with woman (see 6 b, 7): women doctors, women drivers, women friends, women journalists, women ministers, women priests, women professors, women students,etc. 
b. objective, etc. synonymous with the corresp. combs. with woman (see 6 c, 7). 
c. Special comb.: women-house Sc., a building set apart for women only; women liberators, women's liberationists (see sense 10 below); †women-matters pl., matters relating to women; women-men pl. (see woman-man, 7); womenpower, = woman-power, sense 7 above; †women-sleepers pl., female nurses (cf. woman-keeper in sense 7); †women-strikers pl. [striker n. 2 d], prostitutes; women-suffrage = woman-suffrage (see 7); women-wise adv., in the fashion or way of women; women-years, pl. of woman-year, sense 7 above. 
10. Comb. with women's: women's-boat, a boat to be used by women only = umiak; women's college, a university college that admits only women as students; women's courses, †evil = catamenia; women's group, a group formed for the discussion or furtherance of the interests of women; Women's Institute, an organization of women in rural areas who meet regularly and engage in various social and cultural activities; †women's-kins, of the female sex; women's liberation, the liberation of women from subservient social status and all forms of sexism; also (usu. with cap. initial) a militant movement with these aims; also abbrev. as women's lib (cf. lib); hence women's libber [libber], liberationist; women's magazine = woman's magazine, sense 8 above; similarly women's mag; women's men, pl. of woman's man (see 8); women's movement, (a) = woman-movement s.v. woman n. 7; (b) the women's liberation movement (see above); women's page = woman's page, sense 8 above; women's room U.S. = ladies s.v. lady n. 4 f; Women's Rural Institute: see rural a. 6; women's studies orig. U.S., academic studies concerning women, their role in society, etc.; women's suffrage = woman-suffrage (see 7); women's wear, clothing for women; women's work = woman's work, sense 8 above. 
  ______________________________
  
Additions 1993
Add: [I.] [2.]I.2 b.I.2.b colloq. A hired charwoman or domestic cleaning woman. Cf. daily n. 3. Usu. with preceding possessive pronoun. 
 ______________________________
Draft partial entry June 2004
▸ orig. Naut.women and children first: (on a ship in difficulty) indicating that women and children should be allowed on to the lifeboats before men; (hence allusively) warning of any kind of risky or unpleasant situation from which escape is desirable (chiefly humorous). 
 ______________________________
Draft partial entry July 2008
▸ woman of the bedchamber n. Brit. a woman who attends to the queen or queen mother (cf. lady of the bedchamber n. at lady n. Phrases 1b(c)).

Webster’s

1a.
(1) a female human being —  distinguished from man
(2) an adult female human being —  distinguished from girl
(3) a female human being as such and without regard to any special status (as of birth, position, or office)
(4) a female human being of a class or character lower than that normally considered a lady
b. a female human being belonging to a particular and usually specific category (as by birth, residence, or membership) —  usually used in combination  —  compare MAN 2b
c.
(1) chiefly dialect   : WIFE
(2) MISTRESS 6a
(3) women plural   : human females as partners in sexual intercourse or irregularities
d.
(1) one possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of womanhood (as gentleness, affection, and domesticity or on the other hand fickleness, superficiality, and folly)
(2) : womanly character or quality : WOMANLINESS
2. the female part of the human race : female human beings especially when viewed as a natural kind or personified as an individual : WOMANKIND
3. a human female that serves or is subordinate to another ;  especially   : one that is the personal maid of another