Womanhood is the period in a human female's life after she has passed through childhood and adolescence, generally around age 18.
The word woman can be used generally, to mean any female human or specifically, to mean an adult female human as contrasted with girl.
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.
"Womb" is actually from the Old English word wambe meaning "stomach" (modern German retains the colloquial term "Wampe" from Middle High German for "potbelly").
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).
For instance, intersex individuals, who have mixed physical and/or genetic features, may use other criteria in making a clear determination.
Otherwise, the fetus usually develops into a female, typically when the fetus has an X chromosome from the father, but also when the father contributed neither an X nor Y chromosome.
Later at puberty, estrogen feminizes a young woman, giving her adult sexual characteristics.
The medial labial consonants f and m in wīfmann coalesced into the modern form "woman", while the initial element, which meant "female", underwent semantic narrowing to the sense of a married woman ("wife").
It is a popular misconception that the term "woman" is etymologically connected to "womb".
As in cases without two sexes, such as species that reproduce asexually, the gender-neutral appearance is closer to female than to male.