Female and woman
yummy mummy
I have been asked by someone preparing a speech to a feminist group, to find out the origins of these two words, especially in relation to why they contain the words 'male' and 'man'. (I know this tack has been used by people before for these types of speeches and is a bit 'old hat', but I said I'd help so would be grateful)
AdSumADS
"Female" is from the Middle English femelle which ultimately derives from the Latin for "girl," the deminutive femina. It happens in language sometimes that a word is altered to match the structure of other parts of the language, and so with femelle (which was also, sometime spelled femel) which was altered to match "male" (from the Middle English by way of Middle French masle and male and ultimately from the the Latin, mas and masculus).

"Man" can be traced to the Sanskrit manu as human being. It took on the additional sense of specifically a male human being (an adult male human being) in Old English c. 1100, man and also mon, as the new word, wifman, gained currency (wif=[the] wife [of]) and later became "woman."

AdSumADS
Other sources have revealed that the Anglo-Saxon, wif-, meant female and that "wife" qua spouse derived from this later. This could be an important point for the intended feminist rhetoric. Etymologically, "woman" comes from female human being and "man" human being (simpliciter) and male human being by contrast. By parity, "dog" refers both to a canine, generally, and specifically a male canine by contrast. "Female" from the Latin for woman, the spelling was changed somewhat consciously with a simplification of symbolizations in mind. Incidentally, the "wif-" origin of "woman" explains the otherwise somewhat odd pronunciation and the Anglo-Saxon lineage explains the plural, "women," as it does for "ox" vs. "oxen."
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