• synonyms


[trans-ves-tahyt, tranz-]
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  1. a person, especially a male, who assumes the dress and manner usually associated with the opposite sex.

Origin of transvestite

1925–30; < German Transvestit; see transvestism, -ite1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for transvestite


  1. a person who seeks sexual pleasure from wearing clothes that are normally associated with the opposite sex
  2. any cross-dresserSee cross-dressing
Derived Formstransvestism or transvestitism, noun

Word Origin

C19: from German Transvestit, from trans- + Latin vestītus clothed, from vestīre to clothe
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 transvestite


"person with a strong desire to dress in clothing of the opposite sex," 1922, from German Transvestit (1910), coined from Latin trans- "across" (see trans-) + vestire "to dress, to clothe" (see wear (v.)). Cf. also travesty, which is the same word, older, and passed through French and Italian. Shortened form trannie first recorded 1983 (in 1960s this was used as a slang shortening of transistor radio). Transvestism is first attested 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

transvestite in Medicine


(trăns-vĕstīt′, trănz-)
  1. One who practices transvestism.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

transvestite in Culture


Someone who dresses in the clothes usually worn by the opposite sex. Transvestites may be bisexual, heterosexual, or homosexual (see bisexuality, heterosexuality, and homosexuality).

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.