fbpx

What is the origin of muliebrity?

Muliebrity “womanly nature or qualities” derives from Late Latin muliēbritās “womanhood,” from mulier “woman.” Mulier is of uncertain origin, though the most common theory connects the noun to the comparative adjective mollior “softer,” from mollis “soft, calm, gentle,” the source of the English verb mollify “to soften in feeling or temper.” Mulier was one of four primary Latin words that evolved into the terms for “woman,” “lady,” or “wife” in modern Romance languages; while mulier became Portuguese mulher and Spanish mujer, Latin fēmina “woman” became French femme and Spanish hembra, Latin domina “lady, mistress (of a household)” became French dame and Spanish doña, and Latin senior “older” became Portuguese senhora and Spanish señora. Muliebrity was first recorded in English in the late 1500s.