- either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions.
- the sum of the structural and functional differences by which the male and female are distinguished, or the phenomena or behavior dependent on these differences.
- the instinct or attraction drawing one sex toward another, or its manifestation in life and conduct.
verb (used with object)
- to ascertain the sex of, especially of newly-hatched chicks.
- sex up, Informal.
- to arouse sexually: The only intent of that show was to sex up the audience.
- to increase the appeal of; to make more interesting, attractive, or exciting: We’ve decided to sex up the movie with some battle scenes.
- to have sex, to engage in sexual intercourse.
- a combining form, occurring in loanwords from Latin, meaning “six” (sexagenary); on this model used in the formation of compound words: sexpartite.
- the sum of the characteristics that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive function
- either of the two categories, male or female, into which organisms are placed on this basis
- short for sexual intercourse
- feelings or behaviour resulting from the urge to gratify the sexual instinct
- sexual matters in general
- of or concerning sexual matterssex education; sex hygiene
- based on or arising from the difference between the sexessex discrimination
- (tr) to ascertain the sex of
n.late 14c., “males or females collectively,” from Latin sexus “a sex, state of being either male or female, gender,” of uncertain origin. “Commonly taken with seco as division or ‘half’ of the race” [Tucker], which would connect it to secare “to divide or cut” (see section (n.)). Meaning “quality of being male or female” first recorded 1520s. Meaning “sexual intercourse” first attested 1929 (in writings of D.H. Lawrence); meaning “genitalia” is attested from 1938. Sex appeal attested by 1904. For the raw sex appeal of the burlesque “shows” there is no defense, either. These “shows” should be under official supervision, at the least, and boys beneath the age of eighteen forbidden, perhaps, to attend their performance, just as we forbid the sale of liquors to minors. [Walter Prichard Eaton, “At the New Theatre and Others: The American Stage, Its Problems and Performances,” Boston, 1910] Sex drive is from 1918; sex object is 1901; sex symbol is 1871 in anthropology; the first person to whom the term was applied seems to have been Marilyn Monroe (1959). Sex therapist is from 1974. v.1884, “to determine the sex of,” from sex (n.); to sex (something) up “increase the sex appeal of” is recorded from 1942. Related: Sexed; sexing. n.
- The property or quality by which organisms are classified as female or male on the basis of their reproductive organs and functions.
- Either of the two divisions, designated female and male, of this classification.
- Females or males considered as a group.
- The condition or character of being female or male; the physiological, functional, and psychological differences that distinguish the female and the male.
- The sexual urge or instinct as it manifests itself in behavior.
- Sexual intercourse.
- Either of two divisions, male and female, into which most sexually reproducing organisms are grouped. Sex is usually determined by anatomy, the makeup of the sex chromosomes, and the type and amount of hormones produced. When the sex of an organism is determined by the sex chromosomes, males and females are generally produced in equal numbers. In other organisms, such as bees and wasps, in which females develop from fertilized eggs and males develop from unfertilized eggs, distribution of the sexes is unequal.
see fair sex.