- belonging to, or partaking of the characteristics of, both sexes: Fashions in clothing are becoming increasingly epicene.
- flaccid; feeble; weak: an epicene style of writing.
- effeminate; unmasculine.
- (of Greek and Latin nouns) of the same gender class regardless of the sex of the being referred to, as Latin vulpēs “fox or vixen” is always grammatically feminine.
- Grammar. (of a noun or pronoun) capable of referring to either sex, as attendant, chairperson, Kim, one, or they; having common gender.
- a person or thing that is epicene.
Origin of epicene
Examples from the Web for epicene
What's the meaning of this; and what, may I ask, is the intention of this—this epicene attire?Stalky & Co.
He looked away, for that epicene tenderness of hers was too harrowing.Jude the Obscure
Sentiment is the ultima ratio feminarum, and of men whose natures are of the epicene gender.Tracks of a Rolling Stone
Henry J. Coke
But a liberal-minded public grew more and more in favor of epicene colleges.
He was a great contrast to the epicene bird-like creature who had lorded it over the civic fortunes of Valladolid.The American Egypt
- having the characteristics of both sexes; hermaphroditic
- of neither sex; sexless
- denoting a noun that may refer to a male or a female, such as teacher as opposed to businessman or shepherd
- (in Latin, Greek, etc) denoting a noun that retains the same grammatical gender regardless of the sex of the referent
- an epicene person or creature
- an epicene noun
Word Origin and History for epicene
mid-15c., epycen, originally a grammatical term for nouns that may denote either gender, from Latin epicoenus "common," from Greek epikoinos "common to many, promiscuous," from epi "on" (see epi-) + koinos "common" (see coeno-). Extended sense of "characteristic of both sexes" first recorded in English c.1600; that of "effeminate" 1630s.