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fair sex

or fairer sex

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noun Older Use: Sometimes Offensive.
  1. women as a group (usually used facetiously): an insult to the fair sex.

Origin of fair sex

First recorded in 1680–90

Usage note

This is a dated term, usually used for humorous effect. It uses the word fair in the sense of “physically attractive”; because it refers to a woman in terms of her appearance, it is sometimes perceived as demeaning.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fair sex

Historical Examples

  • I will not meddle with the Spectator, let him fair-sex it to the world's end.

    The Journal to Stella

    Jonathan Swift


British Dictionary definitions for fair sex

fair sex

noun
  1. the fair sex women collectively
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

Idioms and Phrases with fair sex

fair sex

Girls or women, as in Many women would object to being called the fair sex nowadays. This euphemism uses fair in the sense of “physically beautiful” and is probably dying out. [Mid-1600s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.