- either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior: the feminine gender.Compare sex(def 1).
- a similar category of human beings that is outside the male/female binary classification and is based on the individual’s personal awareness or identity.See also third gender.
- (in many languages) a set of classes that together include all nouns, membership in a particular class being shown by the form of the noun itself or by the form or choice of words that modify, replace, or otherwise refer to the noun, as, in English, the choice of he to replace the man, of she to replace the woman, of it to replace the table, of it or she to replace the ship. The number of genders in different languages varies from 2 to more than 20; often the classification correlates in part with sex or animateness. The most familiar sets of genders are of three classes (as masculine, feminine, and neuter in Latin and German) or of two (as common and neuter in Dutch, or masculine and feminine in French and Spanish).
- one class of such a set.
- such classes or sets collectively or in general.
- membership of a word or grammatical form, or an inflectional form showing membership, in such a class.
- Archaic. kind, sort, or class.
verb (used with or without object)
- Archaic. to engender.
- Obsolete. to breed.
- a set of two or more grammatical categories into which the nouns of certain languages are divided, sometimes but not necessarily corresponding to the sex of the referent when animateSee also natural gender
- any of the categories, such as masculine, feminine, neuter, or common, within such a set
- informal the state of being male, female, or neuter
- informal all the members of one sexthe female gender
c.1300, “kind, sort, class,” from Old French gendre (12c., Modern French genre), from stem of Latin genus (genitive generis) “race, stock, family; kind, rank, order; species,” also (male or female) “sex” (see genus) and used to translate Aristotle’s Greek grammatical term genos.
The grammatical sense is attested in English from late 14c.; the male-or-female sense from early 15c. As sex took on erotic qualities in 20c., gender came to be the common word used for “sex of a human being,” often in feminist writing with reference to social attributes as much as biological qualities; this sense first attested 1963. Gender-bender is first attested 1980, with reference to pop star David Bowie.
“to bring forth,” late 14c., from Old French gendrer, from Latin generare “to engender” (see generation). Related: Gendered; gendering.
- The sex of an individual, male or female, based on reproductive anatomy.
- Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.
A grammatical category indicating the sex, or lack of sex, of nouns and pronouns. The three genders are masculine, feminine, and neuter. He is a masculine pronoun; she is a feminine pronoun; it is a neuter pronoun. Nouns are classified by gender according to the gender of the pronoun that can substitute for them. In English, gender is directly indicated only by pronouns.