[ trans-sek-shoo-uhl or, especially British, -seks-yoo- ]
/ trænsˈsɛk ʃu əl or, especially British, -ˈsɛks yu- /
(no longer in medical use; now often considered offensive)
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a person having a strong desire to assume the physical characteristics and gender role of a different sex.
a person who has undergone hormone treatment or surgery to attain the physical characteristics of a different sex.
of, relating to, or characteristic of such people.


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Origin of transsexual

First recorded in 1955–60; trans- + sexual, originally in transsexualism (coined in 1953)

usage note for transsexual

The vocabulary around transsexualism originated in medical study of human sexuality. In the 1980s, transsexualism was listed as a mental illness in the manuals of the American Psychological Association and the World Health Organization. Transsexual and transsexualism are no longer used in the medical or psychological professions, having been replaced by gender dysphoria in medical terminology.
Today, the transsexual identity is perceived to fall under the wider umbrella term trans, though it is not exactly equivalent to the term transgender. Transsexual is still sometimes the preferred term among older trans people who have been using the term transsexual to describe their own identity for years. However, owing to the previous association of transsexual with a mental disorder diagnosis, and a history of disparaging use in popular culture, the term is now often considered offensive in general use, especially among younger speakers. There is also some tension between the terms transsexual and transgender, the former term associated with external and physical markers of gender identity, and the latter with internal identification along a gender continuum. Still other speakers use the two terms interchangeably. As always when using identity labels, the best choice is the one with which the person in question self-identifies. See also transgender.

OTHER WORDS FROM transsexual

trans·sex·u·al·i·ty [trans-sek-shoo-al-i-tee, -seks-yoo-]; /trænsˌsɛk ʃuˈæl ɪ ti, -ˈsɛks yu-/; trans·sex·u·al·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use transsexual in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for transsexual



/ (trænzˈsɛksjʊəl) /

a person who permanently acts the part of and completely identifies with the opposite sex
a person who has undergone medical and surgical procedures to alter external sexual characteristics to those of the opposite 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