"womanhood, state of puberty in a woman," corresponding to virility in men, 1590s, from Late Latin muliebritatem (nominative muliebritas) "womanhood," from Latin muliebris "of woman, womanly," from mulier "a woman," which is traditionally said to be comparative to the stem of mollis "soft, weak;" there are phonetic objections, but no better theory has come forward.
Hence also mulier, in old law language "a woman; a wife," as an adjective, "born in wedlock." Also muliebral "of or pertaining to a woman" (1650s); muliebrious "effeminate" (1650s); mulierosity "excessive fondness for women." In old anatomy and medical writing pudenda muliebria was euphemistic for "vagina."
updated on March 19, 2019