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


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

Definition of gender (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of gender in a Sentence


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

Discourse on feminism is fundamentally different in China than in Australia and Europe; both share the goal of gender equality, but, in recent years, the Chinese Women’s Rights Movement has faced rigid government repression. Vogue, "This All-Female DJ Collective Wants to Empower the Women of Shanghai’s Nocturnal World," 15 May 2019 What about women looking for gender equality, for change, not a silver lining peeking out from the patriarchy cloud looming overhead? Jules Barrueco, Glamour, "Moms Have Changed. It’s Time to Change Gifts for Them Too," 10 May 2019 Filmed by @WorldVisionUK as Meghan campaigns for gender equality. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "A Never-Before-Seen Video of Meghan Markle Campaigning for Gender Equality in India Was Just Released," 17 Apr. 2019 For gender-nonconforming people, getting medical care can be an uphill battle. Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, "7 Things to Know About Birth Control If You Are Transgender or Nonbinary," 1 May 2019 Pegging Pegging most often refers to a cisgender male receiving anal penetration from a female-identifying partner, although any gender can enjoy this kink. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Pick a Safe Word, It's Kink Month at Allure," 1 May 2019 Nowlan, Clayton, and thousands of women and gender non-conforming (GNC) people are leading a movement to change this dynamic —across the state of California and nationwide. Alicia Garza, Marie Claire, "Alicia Garza on How Women Are Battling Mass Incarceration," 30 Apr. 2019 Lachlan likes to describe their gender journey as a three-part opera. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Everything You Need To Know About "CAOS" Star Lachlan Watson," 12 Apr. 2019 Another way to look at these gender differences is to compare men and women who leave the labor force. Anna North, Vox, "You’ve heard that women make 80 cents to men’s dollar. It’s much worse than that.," 2 Apr. 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


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gender


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


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

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Statistics for gender

Last Updated

18 May 2019

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Time Traveler for gender

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

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More Definitions for gender


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

Kids Definition of gender

: the state of being male or female : sex


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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More from Merriam-Webster on gender

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gender

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gender

Spanish Central: Translation of gender

Nglish: Translation of gender for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gender for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gender

Comments on gender

What made you want to look up gender? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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