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eunuch

[yoo-nuh k]
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noun
  1. a castrated man, especially one formerly employed by rulers in the Middle East and Asia as a harem guard or palace official.
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Origin of eunuch

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for eunuch

eunuch

noun
  1. a man who has been castrated, esp (formerly) for some office such as a guard in a harem
  2. informal an ineffective mana political eunuch
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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

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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

eunuch in Medicine

eunuch

(yōōnək)
n.
  1. A man or boy whose testes have been removed or have never developed.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.