- (in many languages) a set of classes that together include all nouns, membership in a particular class being shown by the form of the noun itself or by the form or choice of words that modify, replace, or otherwise refer to the noun, as, in English, the choice of he to replace the man, of she to replace the woman, of it to replace the table, of it or she to replace the ship. The number of genders in different languages varies from 2 to more than 20; often the classification correlates in part with sex or animateness. The most familiar sets of genders are of three classes (as masculine, feminine, and neuter in Latin and German) or of two (as common and neuter in Dutch, or masculine and feminine in French and Spanish).
- one class of such a set.
- such classes or sets collectively or in general.
- membership of a word or grammatical form, or an inflectional form showing membership, in such a class.
Origin of gender1
usage note for gender
Until recently, most people assumed that acknowledging one's gender, or sex, was easy. You just checked the appropriate box on a standard form, choosing either “male” or “female,” according to the gender you had been assigned at birth based on visible anatomical evidence. But some people's internal sense of who they are does not correspond with their assigned gender. And in fact, we now recognize that a complex spectrum between male and female exists not only mentally, psychologically, and behaviorally, but also anatomically; there have always been intersex people. The conflation of gender with sex, though historically common, is now often criticized because it is seen by some to be insensitive or dehumanizing.
Gender identity is complicated. Some people, perhaps most, do not question their assigned gender. But others perceive themselves as belonging to the opposite sex. Still others, some of whom identify themselves as genderqueer see themselves as neither male nor female, or perhaps as both, or as rotating between genders, or even as not belonging to any gender categorization at all.
Those who clearly see themselves as the opposite sex may or may not want to transition to it in some measure. Of those who do, some may complete that transition, but others may be happy to stop partway on a path that can include dressing and living as the opposite sex, although the desire to crossdress can exist quite apart from issues of gender identity. Somewhere along the transitional path people may want to change their given names and adopt linguistic terms of their own choosing, including a variety of pronouns, as designations of themselves and others. Some will have hormone treatments and opt for various kinds of surgery—perhaps facial, perhaps on their bodies, perhaps ultimately including sex “reassignment” surgery (genital reconstruction). At any point, they may welcome or reject a “transgender” label.
This array of life experiences has resulted in a veritable explosion of new, or newly adapted, vocabulary. Particularly striking and useful is the word cis or prefix cis- as in cis male, cis female, and cisgender, designating those whose sense of self matches their assigned gender. Using cis is a way to refer to these individuals without implying that “cis” people are the norm and all others a deviation from “normal.” It is notable that choices of gender beyond male and female now appear on social media sites. Clearly, gender is no longer a simple binary concept.
OTHER WORDS FROM gendergen·der·less, adjective
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH gendergender , sex
Other definitions for gender (2 of 2)
How to use gender in a sentence
It only matters that some words about sexuality and gender are allowed, and others are not.Court strikes down bans on conversion therapy as violations of free speech|Chris Johnson|November 20, 2020|Washington Blade
In addition, a third of respondents reported an inability to live openly in their gender.Global study finds pandemic exacerbates inequities for trans people|Kaela Roeder|November 20, 2020|Washington Blade
At our annual meeting, they talked about hidden “green” companies, the importance of treating employees, and the growing gender diversity in the corner office.
TV advertisers, however, orient their buying strategies around Nielsen’s age-and-gender measurements, and Nielsen’s DAR measurement offers a like-for-like metric to the one these advertisers use to buy their traditional TV spots.‘I need it verified’: Vizio will add Nielsen measurement to lure linear TV ad dollars to its connected TV platform|Tim Peterson|November 17, 2020|Digiday
Mexico, for example, reached gender parity in the national legislature and most of its state legislatures in 2018.The U.S. is too far behind the rest of the world when it comes to women in government|jakemeth|November 16, 2020|Fortune
Lizzie Crocker reports on the ‘code of masculinity’ and why the gendering of violence may be the key to preventing massacres.
British Dictionary definitions for gender
Derived forms of gendergenderless, adjective
Word Origin for gender
Medical definitions for gender
Cultural definitions for gender
A grammatical category indicating the sex, or lack of sex, of nouns and pronouns. The three genders are masculine, feminine, and neuter. He is a masculine pronoun; she is a feminine pronoun; it is a neuter pronoun. Nouns are classified by gender according to the gender of the pronoun that can substitute for them. In English, gender is directly indicated only by pronouns.