heterosexual

1 of 2

adjective

het·​ero·​sex·​u·​al ˌhe-tə-rō-ˈsek-sh(ə-)wəl How to pronounce heterosexual (audio)
-ˈsek-shəl
1
a
: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to or between people of the opposite sex
heterosexual men/women
a heterosexual couple
b
: of, relating to, or involving sexual activity between individuals of the opposite sex
2
: of or relating to different sexes
heterosexually adverb

heterosexual

2 of 2

noun

plural heterosexuals
: a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of the opposite sex : a heterosexual person

Examples of heterosexual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
However, change requires taking power from the hands of dominant white, heterosexual, nondisabled and first-world nation groups. Alana Dillette, The Conversation, 6 Feb. 2024 The learned helplessness of men in heterosexual partnerships? Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2023 Meanwhile, an ascendant right wing is busy flogging the concept of the nuclear family — heterosexual, natch — with men as breadwinners and women maintaining the home and raising children. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 In heterosexual relationships, the women most of the time, of course. Beth Ann Mayer, Parents, 1 Feb. 2024 Are Democrats, however supposedly hellbent on dismantling gender roles and destroying the nuclear family, still longing for the heterosexual American archetype? Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2024 In turn, strengthening the argument regarding cinematic representation and who should be allowed to play LGBTQ+ characters in an industry seemingly obsessed with the power of celebrity bestows carte blanche upon heterosexual actors whose affiliation attracts financing. Nicholas Bell, SPIN, 11 Jan. 2024 There's a new viral video on the downright frustrating double standard between mothers and fathers in heterosexual relationships. Beth Ann Mayer, Parents, 27 Dec. 2023 Even the attempt of erasure and censure sends a message to LGBTQ+ students and their heterosexual cisgender counterparts that these subjects are taboo and should only be discussed in whispers. Wilson Cruz, Peoplemag, 10 Dec. 2023
Noun
Implicitly, playing heterosexuals is no longer permissible. Armond White, National Review, 2 Feb. 2024 Though PrEP has been embraced by gay and trans Americans, it is prescribed less often to heterosexuals over 50 or women of any age. Michael Scaturro | Kff Health News, ABC News, 7 Nov. 2023 Consequently, a population of heterosexuals who are not in monogamous long-term relationships are now newly ineligible to donate blood. Benjamin Ryan, NBC News, 7 Aug. 2023 Recent studies have also found that rates of mental illness in lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth far outpace those in heterosexuals: Between 2015 and 2019, suicidality rates in these individuals were five times higher, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Eli Cahan, The New Republic, 10 July 2023 The white working classes also resent their cultural marginalization by liberal elites, who champion diversity while presenting whites, heterosexuals, and men as the enemies of progress. Andreas Wimmer, Foreign Affairs, 12 Feb. 2019 One simply cannot applaud cis white heterosexual males enough for doing the bare minimum required of a human being. Hayley Maitland, Vogue, 14 Dec. 2022 Remember: Any human who didn’t fit the cultural norm (heterosexual) has spent their lives either in a form of hiding or living out loud while often endangering their emotional, physical and economic safety. Meghan Leahy, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2022 Shifting our wider definition of family is not just about including those who are childfree or prospective parents who sit outside of the heterosexual, cis norm. Sadhbh O'Sullivan, refinery29.com, 13 Feb. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

Adjective

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1892, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of heterosexual was in 1892

Dictionary Entries Near heterosexual

Cite this Entry

“Heterosexual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heterosexual. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

heterosexual

1 of 2 adjective
het·​ero·​sex·​u·​al ˌhet-ə-rō-ˈseksh-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce heterosexual (audio)
-ˈsek-shəl
: of, relating to, or marked by sexual interest in members of the opposite sex
heterosexuality noun

heterosexual

2 of 2 noun
: a heterosexual individual

Medical Definition

heterosexual

1 of 2 adjective
het·​ero·​sex·​u·​al ˌhet-ə-rō-ˈseksh-(ə-)wəl, -ˈsek-shəl How to pronounce heterosexual (audio)
1
a
: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to or between individuals of the opposite sex
b
: of, relating to, or involving sexual activity between individuals of the opposite sex
sexual relationships between individuals of opposite sexes are heterosexualA. C. Kinsey
2
: of or relating to different sexes

heterosexual

2 of 2 noun
: a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of the opposite sex : a heterosexual individual

More from Merriam-Webster on heterosexual

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