In Old English, wīfmann meant "female human", whereas wēr meant "male human".

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The vagina is used in copulation and birthing, although the term vagina is often colloquially and incorrectly used in the English language for the vulva or external female genitalia, which consists of (in addition to the vagina) the labia, the clitoris, and the female urethra.

The breast evolved from the sweat gland to produce milk, a nutritious secretion that is the most distinctive characteristic of mammals, along with live birth.

bat mitzvah in Judaism, or even just the custom of a special celebration for a certain birthday (generally between 12 and 21), like the Quinceañera of Latin America.

The earliest women whose names are known through archaeology include: In terms of biology, the female sex organs are involved in the reproductive system, whereas the secondary sex characteristics are involved in nurturing children or, in some cultures, attracting a mate.

The term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "women's rights".

"Woman" may also refer to a person's gender identity.

Conversely, in certain cultures which link family honor with female virginity, the word girl is still used to refer to a never-married woman; in this sense it is used in a fashion roughly analogous to the obsolete English maid or maiden.

Referring to an unmarried female human as a woman may, in such a culture, imply that she is sexually experienced, which would be an insult to her family.

In mature women, the breast is generally more prominent than in most other mammals; this prominence, not necessary for milk production, is probably at least partially the result of sexual selection.

(For other ways in which men commonly differ physically from women, see man.) During early fetal development, embryos of both sexes appear gender-neutral.

As in cases without two sexes, such as species that reproduce asexually, the gender-neutral appearance is closer to female than to male.