secondary sex characteristic


noun Medicine/Medical.

any of a number of manifestations, as development of breasts or beard, muscularity, distribution of fat tissue, and change of pitch in voice, specific to each sex and incipient at puberty but not essential to reproduction.

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Also called secondary sex character.

Origin of secondary sex characteristic

First recorded in 1925–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Scientific definitions for secondary sex character

secondary sex characteristic

Any of the physical traits in a sexually mature animal that are specific to one sex but are not directly involved in the act of reproducing. Secondary sex characteristics are thought to have evolved to give an individual an advantage in mating by making the individual more attractive to mates or by allowing the individual to defeat rivals in competition for mates. Some secondary sex characteristics include the facial hair of the human male, the relatively prominent breasts of the human female, the antlers found only in the male of most species of deer, and the colorful plumage of the males of many species of birds. The appearance of secondary sex characteristics is determined by the sex hormones. See more at sexual selection.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for secondary sex character

secondary sex characteristic

A characteristic, such as breast development, voice pitch, or facial hair, that distinguishes the sexes from each other but is not directly concerned with reproduction. The appearance of these characteristics is influenced by hormones.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.