Are those roughly equivalent? Do they belong to the same register of language?

According to mdbg.net:

女 (nǚ​) – female / woman / daughter
女人 (nǚ​rén​) – woman
女子 (nǚ​zǐ) – woman / female

1 Answer 1


There are detailed answer from the following thread at CantoDict forums on the difference between 女人 and 女子

女子 Female - Used in the most formal situations, such as news reporting, e.g., 一名女子 (a female), or 女子組 (the female group as in Olympic sports events), or 小女子 (how a woman addresses herself in historical drama)

女人 Woman - Used in casual situations, such as daily conversation, e.g., 一個女人 (a woman) or 三個女人一個墟 (three women [make as much noise as] a farmer's market)

As for the character 女, it can be a noun or an adjective for "female".

The only example of as a noun, is with a pronoun, for example 此 (this) as in 此 (this woman) - a simplified form of 此女子 (this woman).

It is only used in classical writing style.

  • Oh, now it makes ever more sense, thank you. I find it somewhat debilitating most Chinese resources fail to explain such important things… Nov 2, 2016 at 8:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.