A woman /ˈwʊmən/, pl: women is a female human. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent. However, the term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as “women’s rights“. Women are typically capable of giving birthfrom puberty onwards, though older women who have gone through menopause and some intersex women cannot. Throughout history women have assumed various social roles in occupation. In some cultures, a majority of women have adopted specific appearances, such as those regulated by dress codes.
The spelling of woman in English has progressed over the past millennium from wīfmann to wīmmann to wumman, and finally, the modern spelling woman. In Old English, wīfmann meant “female human”, whereas wēr meant “male human”. Mann or monn had a gender-neutral meaning of “human”, corresponding to Modern English “person” or “someone”.
A very common Indo-European root for woman, *gwen-, is the source of modern English “queen” (Old English cwēn had primarily meant woman, highborn or not; this is still the case in Danish, with the modern spelling kvinde, as well as in Swedish kvinna and Norwegian kvinne). The word gynaecology is also derived from the Ancient Greek cognate γυνή gynē, woman. Other English words traceable to the same Indo-European root include banshee “fairy woman” (from Irish bean “woman” and sí“fairy”) and zenana (from Persian زن zan).
The symbol for the planet Venus is the sign also used in biology for the female sex. It is a stylized representation of the goddess Venus’s hand-mirror or an abstract symbol for the goddess: a circle with a small equilateral cross underneath. The Venus symbol also represented femininity, and in ancient alchemy stood for copper. Alchemists constructed the symbol from a circle (representing spirit) above an equilateral cross (representing matter).
Tree of Life Attributions
The sacred animal attribution for Binah is the woman. (Aleister Crowley, 777, p. 10)