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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for eunuch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But even the boy, made an eunuch at fourteen, will be a very defective man at twenty-five.

  • And at his bidding the eunuch lifted up the head by the hair for him to look on.

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • Hassan was well content with this interpretation, when a eunuch entered and brought him a sealed letter on a golden salver.

  • Canst thou not go in with the eunuch, Harmachis, and bring the treasure forth?

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • The hareem carriage of a man of importance has not only its eunuch, but also its sais, or running footman; often two of them.

    Mentone, Cairo, and Corfu Constance Fenimore Woolson
  • After her came the eunuch, and he also stood in the passage.

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • A eunuch had found it under the windows of Nitetis' sleeping-apartment.

  • Then, having rested awhile, we moved with the lamps to seek for the eunuch.

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • And immediately he entered the antechamber, as she had commanded him, and the eunuch was silent, and said no more.

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
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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
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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.
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eunuch in the Bible

literally bed-keeper or chamberlain, and not necessarily in all cases one who was mutilated, although the practice of employing such mutilated persons in Oriental courts was common (2 Kings 9:32; Esther 2:3). The law of Moses excluded them from the congregation (Deut. 23:1). They were common also among the Greeks and Romans. It is said that even to-day there are some in Rome who are employed in singing soprano in the Sistine Chapel. Three classes of eunuchs are mentioned in Matt. 19:12.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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