her·​maph·​ro·​dit·​ic (ˌ)hər-ˌma-frə-ˈdi-tik How to pronounce hermaphroditic (audio)
: possessing both male and female reproductive organs, structures, or tissue : exhibiting hermaphroditism : of, relating to, or being a hermaphrodite
hermaphroditic worms
hermaphroditic flowers
Most corals are hermaphroditic—they release both male and female gametes.John Vandenbeld
hermaphroditically adverb

Examples of hermaphroditic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There were around 10 baby sea stars, each the spitting image of their parent, which like many starfish was probably hermaphroditic. Darren Incorvaia, New York Times, 4 Aug. 2023 In most hermaphroditic animals, an individual grows up and develops the organs that make both sperm and eggs. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 15 July 2011 Jeff Daniels is now the proud namesake of a tarantula-killing, hermaphroditic species of worm. Todd Spangler, Variety, 19 Jan. 2022 Two hermaphroditic snails can fertilize each other, or just play the role of male or female. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 15 July 2010 These hermaphroditic creatures must surely represent some kind of metaphor, too obscure to be easily interpreted. Peter Debruge, Variety, 16 Mar. 2022 This is true of male and female individuals within a population, as well as male and female functions within a hermaphroditic individual. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2011

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

Word History


borrowed from New Latin hermaphrodīticus, from Latin hermaphrodītus hermaphrodite entry 1 + -icus -ic entry 1

First Known Use

1631, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hermaphroditic was in 1631

Dictionary Entries Near hermaphroditic

Cite this Entry

“Hermaphroditic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hermaphroditic. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: having both male and female reproductive organs
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