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Muliebrity is the quality of being a woman. This word is sometimes used as a counterpart to virility, in an analogy with the counterparts of "feminine" and "masculine". The word is derived from Latin muliebritas ("womanhood") and mulier ("woman"). The Oxford English Dictionary (1st edition) noted it was "rare".

Muliebrity (miuliˌe•brǐti). rare. [ad. L. muliebrit-ās, f. muliebris : see M<small=2>ULIEBRAL.] Womanhood ; the characteristics or qualities of a woman.

  • 1592 [?KYD] Soliman & Pers. IV. ii. The Ladies of Rhodes haue made their petition to Cupid to plague you aboue all..other, as one preiuditiall to their muliebritie.
  • c 1693 Urquhart's Rabelais III. xxxii. 270 Individual Womanishness or Muliebrity.
  • 1858 O. W. HOLMES Aut. Breakf.-t. ix. The second of the ravishing voices..had so much woman in it,— muliebrity, as well as femineity.

The American Heritage Dictionary adds that muliebrity is the "state of womanhood (in contrast with maidenhood)."[1] In this sense, muliebrity is a state achieved by successful relationship with a man.

  • He exercised his virility and she received her muliebrity.

Some thesauruses supply muliebrity among other approximate synonyms for womanhood and femininity. Vanderbilt University uses it in a slightly different way, offering a Muliebrity Award to recognize the achievements of women. In his book Mother Tongue (1990), author Bill Bryson describes it as meaning "the state of being a woman" .

The word came into a wider circulation after the book of Joni Arredia, although its occasional usage may be traced to much earlier times, e.g., in Al Purdy's poem Uncle Fred on Côte des Neiges (in Poems for All the Annettes (Toronto, 1962)).

Sujata Bhatt

Muliebrity is also the name of a poem, written by Sujata Bhatt. She says it is based on a childhood recollection.[2]


I have thought so much about the girl
who gathered cow-dung in a wide, round basket
along the main road passing by our house
and the Radhavallabh temple in Maninagar.
I have thought so much about the way she
moved her hands and her waist
and the smell of cow-dung and road-dust and wet canna lilies,
the smell of monkey breath and freshly washed clothes
and the dust from crows’ wings which smells different –
and again the smell of cow-dung as the girl scoops
it up, all these smells surrounding me separately
and simultaneously – I have thought so much
but have been unwilling to use her for a metaphor,
for a nice image – but most of all unwilling
to forget her or to explain to anyone the greatness
and the power glistening through her cheekbones
each time she found a particularly promising
mound of dung –


External links


  • Arredia, Joni, Muliebrity: Qualities of a Woman, 1996, ISBN 0-9653203-1-6 (hardcover)

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