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


of, relating to, or for sex: sexual matters; sexual aids.
occurring between or involving the sexes: sexual relations.
having sexual organs or reproducing by processes involving both sexes.

Origin of sexual

1645–55; < Late Latin sexuālis, equivalent to sexu(s) sex + -ālis -al1
Related formssex·u·al·ly, adverban·ti·sex·u·al, adjectivean·ti·sex·u·al·ly, adverbnon·sex·u·al, adjective, nounnon·sex·u·al·ly, adverbun·sex·u·al, adjectiveun·sex·u·al·ly, adverb


a combining form extracted from homosexual and heterosexual, used to describe a person's sexual orientation, identity, or preferences:pansexual;polysexual.
a combining form extracted from metrosexual, used to describe a person's lifestyle, appearance, or way of dressing with regard to attracting or choosing a romantic partner:vegansexual;lumbersexual. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sexual

Contemporary Examples of sexual

Historical Examples of sexual

  • It was social inequality which gave rise to sexual vices as to all the other vices.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • What result will her freedom have on the sexual relationships?

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • Woman is the predominant partner in the sexual relationship.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • It is in the sexual passions we must seek the origins of all social growth.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • Hardly is the sexual act consummated than all vanishes like a dream.

British Dictionary definitions for sexual



of, relating to, or characterized by sex or sexuality
(of reproduction) characterized by the union of male and female gametesCompare asexual (def. 2)
Derived Formssexually, adverb

Word Origin for sexual

C17: from Late Latin sexuālis; see sex
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 sexual

1650s, "of or pertaining to the fact of being male or female," from Late Latin sexualis "relating to sex," from Latin sexus (see sex (n.)). Meaning "pertaining to copulation or generation" is from 1766; sexual intercourse attested by 1778; sexual orientation by 1967; sexual harassment by 1975. Sexual revolution attested by 1962. Sexual politics is from 1970. Related: Sexually.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sexual in Medicine




Of, relating to, involving, or characteristic of sex, sexuality, the sexes, or the sex organs and their functions.
Implying or symbolizing erotic desires or activity.
Of, relating to, or involving the union of male and female gametes.
Related formssexu•al•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.