[hoh-muh-sek-shoo-uh l or, esp. British, -seks-yoo-]


Older Use: Sometimes Disparaging. sexually attracted to members of one's own sex: homosexual students.
Older Use: Sometimes Disparaging. of or relating to sexual desire or behavior directed toward members of one's own sex: the homosexual subculture.
Archaic. of, relating to, or noting the same sex: pregnant with homosexual twins.


Older Use: Sometimes Disparaging. a homosexual person.

Origin of homosexual

First recorded in 1890–95; homo- + sexual
Related formsan·ti·ho·mo·sex·u·al, adjective

Usage note

Up until 1986, homosexuality was listed in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatry's standard reference on the classification of mental illness. People aware of this former categorization may feel that the term homosexual stills carries a negative connotation. And some feel that this word places undue emphasis on sexual activity, or that it sounds overly clinical. In fact, homosexual as an adjective and noun is somewhat dated, except in medical and other formal contexts; the term gay has mostly replaced it. People who still use homosexual are usually unaware that the term may be a sensitive one, although some do use it with intent to cause offense. However, not all members of the gay community object to it. See also gay.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for homosexual

lesbian, homoerotic, queer, gay, homophile

Examples from the Web for homosexual

Contemporary Examples of homosexual

Historical Examples of homosexual

British Dictionary definitions for homosexual



a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex


of or relating to homosexuals or homosexuality
of or relating to the same sex
Compare heterosexual
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 homosexual

1892, in C.G. Chaddock's translation of Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis," from German homosexual, homosexuale (by 1880, in Gustav Jäger), from homo-, comb. form of Greek homos "same" (see homo- (1)) + Latin-based sexual.

"Homosexual" is a barbarously hybrid word, and I claim no responsibility for it. It is, however, convenient, and now widely used. "Homogenic" has been suggested as a substitute. [H. Havelock Ellis, "Studies in Psychology," 1897]

Sexual inversion (1883) was an earlier clinical term for it in English. The noun is recorded by 1895. In technical use, either male or female; but in non-technical use almost always male. Slang shortened form homo first attested 1929.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

homosexual in Medicine


[hō′mə-sĕkshōō-əl, -mō-]


Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.


A homosexual person; a gay man or a lesbian.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.