gender

noun
gen·​der | \ ˈjen-dər How to pronounce gender (audio) \
plural genders

Definition of gender

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a subclass within a grammatical class (such as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (such as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms
b : membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclass
c : an inflectional form (see inflection sense 3a) showing membership in such a subclass
2a : sex sense 1a the feminine gender
b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex
c : gender identity Those seeking state driver's licenses in Massachusetts are closer to being able to designate their gender as "X" instead of "male" or "female." The state Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the nonbinary designation on licenses.— Steve LeBlanc Facebook's message was clear when the social media network added new gender options for users on Thursday: the company is sensitive to a wide spectrum of gender identity and wants users to feel accommodated no matter where they see themselves on that spectrum.— Katy Steinmetz

gender

verb
gendered; gendering\ ˈjen-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce gendering (audio) \

Definition of gender (Entry 2 of 2)

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Are gender and sex the same? Usage Guide

Noun

The words sex and gender have a long and intertwined history. In the 15th century gender expanded from its use as a term for a grammatical subclass to join sex in referring to either of the two primary biological forms of a species, a meaning sex has had since the 14th century; phrases like "the male sex" and "the female gender" are both grounded in uses established for more than five centuries. In the 20th century sex and gender each acquired new uses. Sex developed its "sexual intercourse" meaning in the early part of the century (now its more common meaning), and a few decades later gender gained a meaning referring to the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex, as in "gender roles." Later in the century, gender also came to have application in two closely related compound terms: gender identity refers to a person's internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female; gender expression refers to the physical and behavioral manifestations of one's gender identity. By the end of the century gender by itself was being used as a synonym of gender identity. Among those who study gender and sexuality, a clear delineation between sex and gender is typically prescribed, with sex as the preferred term for biological forms, and gender limited to its meanings involving behavioral, cultural, and psychological traits. In this dichotomy, the terms male and female relate only to biological forms (sex), while the terms masculine/masculinity, feminine/femininity, woman/girl, and man/boy relate only to psychological and sociocultural traits (gender). This delineation also tends to be observed in technical and medical contexts, with the term sex referring to biological forms in such phrases as sex hormones, sex organs, and biological sex. But in nonmedical and nontechnical contexts, there is no clear delineation, and the status of the words remains complicated. Often when comparisons explicitly between male and female people are made, we see the term gender employed, with that term dominating in such collocations as gender differences, gender gap, gender equality, gender bias, and gender relations. It is likely that gender is applied in such contexts because of its psychological and sociocultural meanings, the word's duality making it dually useful. The fact remains that it is often applied in such cases against the prescribed use. Usage of sex and gender is by no means settled. For example, while discrimination was far more often paired with sex from the 1960s through the 20th century and into the 21st, the phrase gender discrimination has been steadily increasing in use since the 1980s and is on track to become the dominant collocation. Currently both terms are sometimes employed with their intended synonymy made explicit: sex/gender discrimination, gender (sex) discrimination.

Examples of gender in a Sentence

Noun Please state your name, birth date, and gender. The adjective and noun must agree in number and gender. Some languages do not use genders.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In recent years, a number of journalism style guides have allowed the gender-neutral pronouns. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, "Merriam-Webster adds non-binary pronoun ‘they’ to dictionary," 17 Sep. 2019 The Sikh view thus rejects all social distinctions that produce inequities, including gender, race, religion and caste, the predominant structure for social hierarchy in South Asia. Simran Jeet Singh, The Conversation, "Why Sikhs wear a turban and what it means to practice the faith in the United States," 13 Sep. 2019 Sixty-five people of varying size, genders, and style preferences rated the styles comfortable to wear. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "We Reviewed Allbirds, the "World's Most Comfortable" Shoes — Here's What You Need to Know," 11 Sep. 2019 There’ll be a gender-neutral bathroom on the plane. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "The 5 most outrageous jokes from Bill Burr's Netflix comedy special Paper Tiger," 10 Sep. 2019 The series is about the socio-economical, gender, political, racial issues that are wrapped up in sneakers and that undercurrent. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Exclusive: Reebok Collabs With Jazerai Allen-Lord For Club C Sneaker," 28 Aug. 2019 This includes giving sources adequate opportunity to respond, informing the reader of major positions on a subject high in the story and striving for gender, ethnic, racial, age, geographic and other types of diversity in sources. Pomerado News, "U-T editorial director: Good journalism is accurate, starts a conversation," 23 Aug. 2019 Two gender-neutral restrooms; one of them (the closer one) has a cabinet that may be an obstacle to getting in. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "The Bay Area’s first Georgian restaurant shines with cheese pulls and chokhas," 15 Aug. 2019 Since girls were first allowed to join this year, more than 100,000 nationally have signed up for Scouts BSA, the new gender-neutral program set up by the Boy Scouts of America for youth ages 11 to 17. Krista Torralva, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio girls, aiming for Eagle Scout, break the gender barrier at camp," 30 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gender.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gender

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gender

Noun

Middle English gendre, from Anglo-French genre, gendre, from Latin gener-, genus birth, race, kind, gender — more at kin

Verb

Middle English gendren, from Anglo-French gendrer, from Latin generare — more at generate

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Statistics for gender

Last Updated

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for gender

The first known use of gender was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for gender

gender

noun
gen·​der | \ ˈjen-dər How to pronounce gender (audio) \

Kids Definition of gender

: the state of being male or female : sex

gender

noun
gen·​der | \ ˈjen-dər How to pronounce gender (audio) \

Medical Definition of gender

2 : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

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Comments on gender

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