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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ He was very young and handsome in a slightly effeminate way.
▪ The way he walks is a bit effeminate, and he sounds effeminate too.
▪ Anthony had more of Michael's ruggedness whereas Geoffrey had softer features, almost effeminate.
▪ The face was round and smooth, almost effeminate.
▪ The first gay characters appeared on the silent screen 70 years ago, when archly effeminate sissies were exploited for cheap laughs.
▪ This reflects not only homophobia but also sexism, since gay men are stereotyped as effeminate, too much like women.
▪ This was no peace and love; here were no drum solos or effeminate synthesizers.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Effeminate \Ef*fem"i*nate\, v. i. To grow womanish or weak.

In a slothful peace both courage will effeminate and manners corrupt.


Effeminate \Ef*fem"i*nate\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Effeminated; p. pr. & vb. n. Effeminating.] To make womanish; to make soft and delicate; to weaken.

It will not corrupt or effeminate children's minds.


Effeminate \Ef*fem"i*nate\, a. [L. effeminatus, p. p. of effeminare to make a woman of; ex out + femina a woman. See Feminine, a.]

  1. Having some characteristic of a woman, as delicacy, luxuriousness, etc.; soft or delicate to an unmanly degree; womanish; weak.

    The king, by his voluptuous life and mean marriage, became effeminate, and less sensible of honor.

    An effeminate and unmanly foppery.
    --Bp. Hurd.

  2. Womanlike; womanly; tender; -- in a good sense.

    Gentle, kind, effeminate remorse.

    Note: Effeminate and womanish are generally used in a reproachful sense; feminine and womanly, applied to women, are epithets of propriety or commendation.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "womanish; voluptuous; tender," from Latin effeminatus "womanish, effeminate," past participle of effeminare "make a woman of," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + femina "woman" (see feminine). Rarely used but in reproach. The noun meaning "effeminate person" is from 1590s. Related: Effeminately; effemination.

  1. 1 (context often derogatory of a man or boy English) Having behaviour or mannerisms considered unmasculine or typical of a woman or girl; feminine. 2 (context obsolete English) womanly; tender v

  2. (context archaic English) To make womanly; to unman.

  1. adj. having unsuitable feminine qualities [syn: emasculate, epicene, cissy, sissified, sissyish, sissy]

  2. characterized by excessive softness or self-indulgence; "an effeminate civilization" [syn: weak]

Usage examples of "effeminate".

Europe asserted their usual ascendance over the effeminate natives of Asia.

Luckily, however, he was not as effeminate as his younger brother, the Cyprian, who never managed to sire any children: Auletes and Cleopatra Tryphaena confidently expected to give Egypt heirs.

In tropical regions the inhabitants are enervated, effeminate, and sensual.

Carli took me aside for a moment, and told me that in spite of his effeminate appearance this individual was a man, and was shortly going to marry the young lady whose hand he had just kissed.

The grave senators confessed with a sigh, that, after having long experienced the stern tyranny of their own countrymen, Rome was at length humbled beneath the effeminate luxury of Oriental despotism.

Others of them fained that they were forsaken, and seemed to flie and go awaie from them, whom dearely they did affect, and then was there running one after another with loud laughters, and effeminate criengs out, their faire tresses spredding downe ouer their snowie shoulders like threeds of gold, bound in laces of greene silke: Some loose after a Nymphish maner, others bounde vp in attyres of golde set with pearle.

Leslie Oker was about as impulsive as a two-toed sloth, and rather less effeminate than a tomcat.

In spite of his finicky mannerisms and his somewhat old-maidish pedantry, it would never have occurred to his worst enemy to call Jonathan effeminate.

Two hundred years after the age of Pliny, the use of pure, or even of mixed silks, was confined to the female sex, till the opulent citizens of Rome and the provinces were insensibly familiarized with the example of Elagabalus, the first who, by this effeminate habit, had sullied the dignity of an emperor and a man.

CD, with the drag queens, the talk shows only serve to heighten the ambivalence about cross-dressing: Is the true CD a stable, middle-aged, married white-collar worker or is he a flamboyant, effeminate homosexual who takes female hormones and has breast implants?

And the same effects caused but a feeble resistance to be opposed to their arms, and the speedy surrender of Manilla by its priest-ridden and effeminate defenders.

Before I knew it, I was lined up with thirty other white guys, learning the merengue from an effeminate Venezuelan named Jorge.

It could not be denied that a state of abundant accommodation was better than the contrary, but this consideration, though in the most rational estimate, of some weight, she was not so depraved and effeminate as to allow to overweigh the opposite evils.

He pretended that Cassius was an effeminate old pathic, and was always making dirty jokes about him to the other Guards officers, who were obliged to laugh heartily at them.

His braided and pinked peascod doublet set off his slender waist to advantage, but gave him a slightly effeminate look.