English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English manlynes, manlynesse. By surface analysis, manly +‎ -ness.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

manliness (usually uncountable, plural manlinesses)

  1. The quality of being manly; the set of qualities, traits and abilities considered appropriate to men (as opposed to women or children); similarity to a man.
    Synonyms: virility, masculinity, manfulness, mannishness, maleness
    Antonyms: unmanliness, womanliness
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book V, Canto VIII”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, page 1:
      Nought under Heaven so strongly doth allure
      The Sense of Man, and all his Mind possess,
      As Beauty’s lovely Bait, that doth procure
      Great Warriors oft their Rigour to repress;
      And mighty Hands forget their Manliness,
    • 1770, Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village[1], lines 379–384:
      With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
      And blessed the cot where every pleasure rose;
      And kissed her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
      And clasped them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
      Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
      In all the silent manliness of grief.
    • 1840 April – 1841 November, Charles Dickens, “Chapter the Sixty-sixth”, in The Old Curiosity Shop. A Tale. [], volume II, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1841, →OCLC:
      ‘He he!’ simpered Brass, who, in his deep debasement, really seemed to have changed sexes with his sister, and to have made over to her any spark of manliness he might have possessed.
    • 1927, Virginia Woolf, chapter 1, in To the Lighthouse[2]:
      [] there was in all their minds a mute questioning of deference and chivalry, of the Bank of England and the Indian Empire, of ringed fingers and lace, though to them all there was something in this of the essence of beauty, which called out the manliness in their girlish hearts, and made them, as they sat at table beneath their mother's eyes, honour her strange severity []
    • 1958, Chinua Achebe, chapter 4, in Things Fall Apart, New York: Astor-Honor, published 1959, page 34:
      Yam stood for manliness, and he who could feed his family on yams from one harvest to another was a very great man indeed.
  2. (euphemistic, rare) Male genitals.
    Synonym: manhood
    • 2013 May 28, Doug Speirs, “Why you shouldn’t call me Mr. Fix It”, in Winnipeg Free Press:
      Dressed only in flip-flops and a fuzzy blue bathrobe, which would be long enough on the mayor of Munchkin Land but on me is literally indecent, I attack the mower in a yanking frenzy, flailing around until the dramatic conclusion, wherein the mower refuses to start even though it is confronted by the full extent of my manliness because my too-short robe has flapped open in a cloud of flying sweat and hurled profanity.
  3. (rare) Humanity, the quality of being human.
    • 1895 May 7, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, “The Story Begins”, in The Time Machine: An Invention, New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt and Company, →OCLC, page 48:
      What might not have happened to men? What if cruelty had grown into a common passion? What if in this interval the race had lost its manliness, and had developed into something inhuman, unsympathetic, and overwhelmingly powerful? I might seem some old-world savage animal, only the more dreadful and disgusting for our common likeness—a foul creature to be incontinently slain.

Translations edit