Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

eunuch

[yoo-nuh k] /ˈyu nək/
noun
1.
a castrated man, especially one formerly employed by rulers in the Middle East and Asia as a harem guard or palace official.
Origin of eunuch
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English eunuk < Latin eunūchus < Greek eunoûchos eunuch, chamberlain, equivalent to eune-, stem of eunḗ bed, place of sleeping + -ochos keeping (akin to échein to hold
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for eunuch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Ere the queen could reply, a eunuch entered, and whispered Boabdil.

    Leila, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • His voice was high pitched and his whole manner suggested that of a eunuch.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • Orleans himself may desire it, but the man is a eunuch in crime; he would, but he can't.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • (b) His justification or raison d'tre explanation of the eunuch system.

    Cyropaedia Xenophon
  • The faithfulness of the eunuch has its parallel in that of the old negro slave.

    Cyropaedia Xenophon
  • "One could sell these women for a great price," said Menkera the eunuch.

    Balthasar Anatole France
  • Take the eunuch guard and the company of gardeners,76and suppress the flames at all cost.

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
  • But let us read 'the place of the Scripture' which the eunuch was reading when Philip joined him.

    Bertha and Her Baptism Nehemiah Adams
  • In truth, we are tempted to pity this eunuch struggling with omnipotence.

    Napoleon the Little Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for eunuch

eunuch

/ˈjuːnək/
noun
1.
a man who has been castrated, esp (formerly) for some office such as a guard in a harem
2.
(informal) an ineffective man: a political eunuch
Word Origin
C15: via Latin from Greek eunoukhos attendant of the bedchamber, from eunē bed + ekhein to have, keep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for eunuch
n.

late 14c., from Middle French eunuque and directly from Latin eunuchus, from Greek eunoukhos "castrated man," originally "guard of the bedchamber or harem," from euno-, comb. form of eune "bed," of unknown origin, + -okhos, from stem of ekhein "to have, hold" (see scheme (n.)).

The Greek and Latin forms of the word were used to translate Hebrew saris, which sometimes meant merely "palace official," in Septuagint and Vulgate, probably without an intended comment on the qualities of bureaucrats.

Eunuches is he þat is i-gilded, and suche were somtyme i-made wardeynes of ladyes in Egipt. [John of Trevisa, translation of Higdon's Polychronicon, 1387]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
eunuch in Medicine

eunuch eu·nuch (yōō'nək)
n.
A man or boy whose testes have been removed or have never developed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for eunuch

Word Value for eunuch

11
14
Scrabble Words With Friends