[on-uh-gah-tuh; Japanese awn-nah-gah-tah]
a male actor in kabuki who performs female roles.
Origin of onnagata
Borrowed into English from Japanese around 1900–05
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
in Kabuki and similar drama, a man who plays female roles, 1901, from Japanese, from onna "woman" + kata "figure."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper