What would be a good Latin word for "women", "ladies", "female(s)", or the like when I want to indicate the gender designation of a sauna or a toilet? In English I would choose "ladies", or perhaps in a very informal setting "women". I specifically want to avoid any offending or pejorative tones in the word, and I am not sure which Latin word would be the best choice. Femina, mulier, and domina come to mind, but I am unsure about how their tones compare.


2 Answers 2


Perhaps the adjective muliebris would work.

In On Architecture, Vitruvius writes in book 5, chapter 10, 'On Baths', that care should be taken that the hot baths for men and for women be adjacent:

... uti caldaria muliebria et virilia coniuncta

  • Thanks! I imagine Vitruvius was after a neutral tone, so this is good support for mulier and muliebris.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jan 12, 2018 at 8:36

I don't think that there's any doubt. Domina has a suggestion of class, the primary meaning of femina is 'female' (of whatever species), puella is age-restricted but mulier is a general word that can apply to all, with the advantage of the related adjective muliebris that Penelope has pointed out.

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