genderless

adjective

gen·​der·​less ˈjen-dər-ləs How to pronounce genderless (audio)
1
a
: not male or female or any combination of male or female
According to Dr. [Meredith] Chapman, "There's a lot of overlap in the terminology. Agender typically means being genderless, without a gender identity or gender neutral."Vera Papisova
b
: lacking qualities typically associated with either sex
"Simply because women have biases to contend with doesn't mean they're wired differently," says Emory business school's [Jeffrey] Sonnenfeld. Tomas Kirchhausen, a molecular biologist at the Harvard medical school, agrees. "Speaking as a scientist," he says, "the human brain is genderless."Jaclyn Fierman
But did the Torah's compilers (or, depending on one's point of view, its Author) intend to portray God as masculine or did they, intending to portray God as nonanthropomorphic and genderless, have to choose the less obtrusive of the two available genders (Hebrew has no neuter)?John Boswell
2
a
: not reflecting or involving gender differences or stereotypical gender roles
None of us has grown up in a genderless culture. In fact, we have grown up in one replete with gender stereotyping and demands for gender normativity, with all the biases that go with that.Diane Ehrensaft
The belief that true poetry is genderless—which is a disguised form of believing that true poetry is masculine—fails to recognize that writers necessarily articulate gendered experience just as they necessarily articulate the spirit of a nationality, an age, a language.Alicia Ostriker
b
: not reflecting the experiences, prejudices, or tendencies of one sex more than the other
Positive empowerment builds trust; it is genderless; it is collaborative; it is power for, not power over.Letty Cottin Pogrebin
"So it was important that this character not be a man, because it afforded, hopefully, an opportunity to actually look at how power actually corrupts individuals. That it's genderless. It's a phenomenon—if you touch it, it's going to contaminate you."Todd Field
3
a
: not specifying a sex or sexes
There has been a marked increase in the number of clean beauty lines that use genderless language to play up the inclusivity of their products.Dawn Reiss
b
: not using grammatical gender (see gender entry 1 sense 1a)
… some languages, called genderless languages, are characterized by their complete lack of grammatical gender distinction in the noun system. In Finnish, for example, hn refers to both he and she, and so has no gender.Jennifer L Prewitt-Freilino
genderlessness noun
Nevertheless, Barthes was sixty-five when he died, and he had kept his public and private life carefully separate all through his literary career, even when embarking on projects as ambiguous as A Lover's Discourse, where the genderlessness of the loved one often sounds tongue-in-cheek … Antoine Compagnon

compare gendered

Examples of genderless in a Sentence

a trendy boutique selling genderless accessories—bandannas, caps, bracelets, etc.
Recent Examples on the Web All award shows should follow in their footsteps and make categories genderless. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Feb. 2024 To be considered, applicants must have created at least two womenswear, menswear or genderless collections, according to the LVMH Prize website. Journal Sentinel, 5 Mar. 2024 The genderless brand takes social issues as its starting point for each collection, and this season is no different. Gemma A. Williams, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 The joint venture with her actor husband Idris Elba harnesses the natural power of African ingredients, creating a line of genderless products specifically designed for melanated skin. Sophie Prideaux, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 Feb. 2024 Midway through a demonstration of a genderless AI chatbot named Echo at the 2024 Rhizome 7x7 festival, the machines appeared to cut the humans out of the equation entirely. Phoebe Connelly, Washington Post, 29 Jan. 2024 With an inclusive size guide (genderless ranges from XXS to XXL, with a line for kids too), Pangaia’s signature is the small text block on garments — a logo without a logo, à la quiet luxury. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 14 Dec. 2023 Timeless and genderless garments are the brand’s main identifiers. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 25 Oct. 2023 Byredo’s commitment to genderless beauty extends beyond fragrances and skin care, as the brand even offers a stunning line of gender-neutral makeup products. Chelsea Hall, ELLE, 28 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'genderless.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Time Traveler
The first known use of genderless was in 1840

Dictionary Entries Near genderless

Cite this Entry

“Genderless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genderless. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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