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In Old English, wīfmann meant "female human", whereas wēr meant "male human".Mann or monn had a gender-neutral meaning of "human", corresponding to Modern English "person" or "someone"; however, subsequent to the Norman Conquest, man began to be used more in reference to "male human", and by the late 13th century had begun to eclipse usage of the older term wēr.

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).

To comply with Wikipedia's lead section guidelines, please consider modifying the lead to provide an accessible overview of the article's key points in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent.

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.Women with typical genetic development are usually capable of giving birth from puberty until menopause.In the context of gender identity, transgender people who are biologically determined to be male and identify as women cannot give birth.Some intersex people who identify as women cannot give birth because of either sterility or inheriting one or more Y chromosomes.In extremely rare cases, people who have Swyer syndrome can give birth with medical assistance.Throughout history women have assumed or been assigned various social roles.