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[hur-maf-ruh-dahyt] /hɜrˈmæf rəˌdaɪt/
an individual in which reproductive organs of both sexes are present.
Biology. an organism, as an earthworm or plant, having normally both the male and female organs of generation.
a person or thing in which two opposite qualities are combined.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a hermaphrodite.
combining two opposite qualities.
Botany. monoclinous.
Origin of hermaphrodite
1350-1400; Middle English hermofrodite < Latin hermaphrodītus < Greek hermaphródītos hemaphrodite, name of the son of Hermes and Aphrodite
Related forms
[hur-maf-ruh-dit-ik] /hɜrˌmæf rəˈdɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
hermaphroditical, hermaphroditish
[hur-maf-ruh-dahy-tish] /hɜrˌmæf rəˈdaɪ tɪʃ/ (Show IPA),
hermaphroditically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hermaphroditic
Historical Examples
  • There are no hermaphroditic cravings after sexual excitement in him.

    My Contemporaries In Fiction David Christie Murray
  • The flatworms are hermaphroditic, and their propagation is by means of eggs.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
  • The myths frequently hit on the theory of a hermaphroditic being, both male and female, who produces another being out of himself.

  • In forms like Hydra, where both sexes are represented in a single individual, the organism is termed monœcious or hermaphroditic.

  • The hermaphroditic specimen was of some interest, since the ovary and testis both seemed to be enlarged.

    Birds from North Borneo

    Max C. Thompson
  • In the case of the third (hermaphroditic or lunar) sex, one set of reproductive organs was male, the other female.

    A Problem in Greek Ethics John Addington Symonds
  • The cell, on the contrary, is hermaphroditic, for it contains within itself the necessary elements for reproducing itself.

    Religion and Lust James Weir
  • Not, we must again emphasize, not in a hermaphroditic personality, but in two perfect complementaries—mates; not one but a pair.

  • According to another, he is pictured as a hermaphroditic being, a concept we frequently come across in alchemical literature.

    Bygone Beliefs H. Stanley Redgrove
  • Castle77 observed and studied the phenomenon of self-sterility in an Ascidian, Ciona intestinalis, which is hermaphroditic.

British Dictionary definitions for hermaphroditic


(biology) an individual animal or flower that has both male and female reproductive organs
a person having both male and female sexual characteristics and genital tissues
a person or thing in which two opposite forces or qualities are combined
having the characteristics of a hermaphrodite
Derived Forms
hermaphroditic, hermaphroditical, adjective
hermaphroditically, adverb
hermaphroditism, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin hermaphrodītus, from Greek, after Hermaphroditus
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 hermaphroditic

1620s, from hermaphrodite + -ic. Earlier form was hermaphroditical (c.1600).



late 14c. (harmofroditus), from Latin hermaphroditus, from Greek Hermaphroditos (Latin Hermaphroditus), son of Hermes and Aphrodite, who, in Ovid, was loved by the nymph Salmacis so ardently that she prayed for complete union with him and as a result they were united bodily, combining male and female characteristics. Also used figuratively in Middle English of "one who improperly occupies two offices." As a name for the condition, Middle English had hermofrodito (late 14c.), hermofrodisia (early 15c.). As an adjective, from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hermaphroditic in Medicine

hermaphrodite her·maph·ro·dite (hər-māf'rə-dīt')
An individual having the reproductive organs and many of the secondary sex characteristics of both sexes.

her·maph'ro·dit'ic (-dĭt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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hermaphroditic in Science
An organism, such as an earthworm or flowering plant, having both male and female reproductive organs in a single individual.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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