Male, masculine, manly, manlike, mannish, manful, virile are comparable when meaning of, characteristic of, or like a male, especially of the human species.
Male (opposed to female ) applies to animals and plants as well as to human beings and stresses the fact of sex.
Masculine (opposed to feminine ) alone of these words may imply grammatical gender, but it characteristically applies to features, attributes, or qualities which belong to men rather than to women.
Masculine is sometimes interchangeable with male.
Manly (often opposed to boyish or, from another point of view, to womanly ) is used to qualify whatever evidences the qualities of a fully developed man. It often specifically suggests the finer qualities of a man (as courage, frankness, and independence) or the physical characters and skills which come with maturity; it is applicable not only to men but to boys.
Manlike (often opposed to womanlike ) is more apt to suggest characteristically masculine qualities or, especially, foibles. Often manlike suggests reference to man in the more general sense of the word and therefore means little more than human or like human beings.
Mannish (often contrasted with womanish or effeminate ) applies chiefly to women or their dress, gait, and manners, when they suggest masculinity rather than femininity.
Manful differs from manly chiefly in its greater stress on sturdiness and resoluteness.
Virile (a stronger word than masculine and opposed to puerile or, in specific sense, to impotent ) suggests such qualities of fully developed manhood as aggressiveness, masterfulness, forcefulness, and in a specific sense, procreativeness. It differs from manly and manful in being applied only to mature men.