metrosexual

[ me-troh-sek-shoo-uh l ]
/ ˌmɛ troʊˈsɛk ʃu əl /

noun

a heterosexual, usually urban male who pays much attention to his personal appearance and cultivates an upscale lifestyle.

adjective

pertaining to or being a metrosexual: You can see from the matching colors in every room that he has a metrosexual focus on home décor.

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Origin of metrosexual

First recorded in 1990-95; metro(politan) + (hetero)sexual
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

BEHIND THE WORD

What does metrosexual mean?

A metrosexual is a heterosexual man who prides himself on his fashion and appearance. He also shops frequently for items that help him keep himself looking on point.

Where does metrosexual come from?

Metrosexual is a blend of metropolitan and sexual, coined in 1994 by Mark Simpson in the British Independent. Simpson used the term to describe a trend he was noticing among men living in cities (i.e., the metro). He saw these men as vain, narcissistic, and obsessed with shopping and going to the gym. Simpson described them as neither straight or gay (with an appreciation for personal grooming as a gay stereotype here)—they were metrosexual.

Simpson himself was ahead of the trend. Metrosexuals would not spread into the cultural mainstream until the early 2000s, with the TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy helping popularize (a more positive) awareness and interest in fashion and upscale urban lifestyles among straight men—again, things stereotypically associated with gay men. A 2003 episode of South Park parodied the trend of metrosexuality as well.

How is metrosexual used in real life?

Calling a man metrosexual is a layered insult. First, it mocks those who take an interest in everything from designer jeans to skincare products as both self-absorbed and effeminate. Second, it reinforces negative stereotypes about gay men and promotes toxic masculinity.

However, as gay culture has become more prominent in the mainstream and as understanding of masculinity has evolved, metrosexual can now also be seen as desirable—it’s attractive and modern for a man to take care of how he looks and lives.

More examples of metrosexual:

“Although the term felt overused as soon as you heard it, metrosexual was an unavoidable feature of the early-aughts cultural landscape. Looking back 15 years later, it’s hard to know what to make of it.”

—Alex Williams, The New York Times, June 2018

Example sentences from the Web for metrosexual

British Dictionary definitions for metrosexual

metrosexual
/ (ˌmɛtrəʊˈsɛksjʊəl) informal /

noun

a heterosexual man who spends a lot of time and money on his appearance and likes to shop

adjective

of or relating to metrosexuals
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