her·​maph·​ro·​dite | \ (ˌ)hər-ˈma-frə-ˌdīt How to pronounce hermaphrodite (audio) \

Definition of hermaphrodite

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an animal or plant having both male and female reproductive tissue or organs
2 : something that is a combination of diverse elements



Definition of hermaphrodite (Entry 2 of 2)

: possessing both male and female reproductive organs, structures, or tissue : hermaphroditic hermaphrodite plants Like their relatives the earthworms, leeches are hermaphrodite animals. Each individual has both male and female sex organs but cannot fertilize itself.— Mark Carwardine

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Other Words from hermaphrodite


hermaphroditic \ (ˌ)hər-​ˌma-​frə-​ˈdi-​tik How to pronounce hermaphroditic (audio) \ adjective
hermaphroditism \ (ˌ)hər-​ˈma-​frə-​ˌdī-​ˌti-​zəm How to pronounce hermaphroditism (audio) \ noun

Examples of hermaphrodite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The hermaphrodites, which produce both eggs and sperm at once, are the true solo act of the worm world. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Alternatives to Heterosexual Pairings, Brought to You By Non-Human Animals," 28 June 2018 Wherefore these women may not improperly be called hermaphrodites, that is monsters of both kinds, half women, half men. Longreads, "The Roaring Girls of Queer London," 8 May 2018 While in humans, male-female unions generally have a fifty-fifty shot of producing males or females, in these nematodes, coupling hermaphrodites with males will produce only male offspring. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Alternatives to Heterosexual Pairings, Brought to You By Non-Human Animals," 28 June 2018 She was derided as sexless, a male hybrid, a hermaphrodite, a freak. Benita Eisler, WSJ, "‘George Sand’ Review: Monstre Sacré," 8 June 2018 Thomas Jefferson, campaigning against John Adams, called him a hermaphrodite. Alex Kingsbury, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Post-truth,’ the ultimate form of cynicism," 18 May 2018 She could just as easily be called, in the language of the later twentieth century, a fetishistic transvestite, a lesbian, a latent transsexual or a hermaphrodite. Longreads, "The Roaring Girls of Queer London," 8 May 2018 The pièce de résistance of this early section is when Hick joins the circus and sleeps with a hermaphrodite. Jocelyn Mcclurg, USA TODAY, "'White Houses': When Eleanor Roosevelt loved 'Hick,' the lady reporter," 12 Feb. 2018 The pond snail is a hermaphrodite that can choose the role of giver or taker in a relationship. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Why Snail Sex Is Like a Box of Chocolates," 20 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hermaphrodite.' 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 hermaphrodite


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hermaphrodite


Middle English hermofrodite, from Latin hermaphroditus, from Greek hermaphroditos, from Hermaphroditos

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Time Traveler for hermaphrodite

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

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English Language Learners Definition of hermaphrodite

: a person, plant, or animal that has both male and female parts


her·​maph·​ro·​dite | \ (ˌ)hər-ˈmaf-rə-ˌdīt How to pronounce hermaphrodite (audio) \

Medical Definition of hermaphrodite

: an individual exhibiting hermaphroditism

Other Words from hermaphrodite

hermaphrodite adjective

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Spanish Central: Translation of hermaphrodite

Nglish: Translation of hermaphrodite for Spanish Speakers

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to move or proceed with twists and turns

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