homosexual

1 of 2

adjective

ho·​mo·​sex·​u·​al ˌhō-mə-ˈsek-sh(ə-)wəl How to pronounce homosexual (audio)
-ˈsek-shəl
1
now sometimes disparaging + offensive; see usage paragraph below : of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to people of one's same sex : gay
2
now sometimes disparaging + offensive; see usage paragraph below : of, relating to, or involving sexual activity between people of the same sex
homosexually adverb now sometimes disparaging + offensive
Usage of Homosexual

The adjective homosexual has been decreasing in use in published, edited text since the late 20th century, and is now sometimes considered offensive, since the word can be seen as evoking negative stereotypes and outdated clinical understandings of homosexuality as a psychiatric condition. The term has largely been replaced by gay, which can describe sexual or romantic attraction or activity between men or between women; by lesbian, which applies only to the latter; or by inclusive abbreviations such as LGBT ("lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender").

homosexual

2 of 2

noun

plural homosexuals
now often disparaging + offensive; see usage paragraph below : a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of their same sex : a gay person and especially a male gay person
Usage of Homosexual

The noun homosexual has seen a decrease in use in published, edited text since the mid-1990s and is now often regarded as offensive, since the word can be seen as evoking negative stereotypes and outdated clinical understandings of homosexuality as a psychiatric condition. Phrases that employ the adjectives gay and lesbian tend to be preferred, as in "a gay man," "a lesbian couple," "gay people," etc.

Examples of homosexual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
In prior cases, Colorado allowed cake bakers to refuse to adorn a cake with Bible verses denouncing homosexual acts. The Editors, National Review, 30 Jan. 2023 The Vatican has said previously that homosexuality shouldn’t carry criminal penalties, though Catholic teaching forbids homosexual acts. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, 25 Jan. 2023 The Economist specifically cited a pair of 13th and 14th-century poets, Rumi and Hafiz, who lived in modern-day Iran and often wrote about homosexual relationships. Justin Klawans, The Week, 24 Nov. 2022 It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that close to everyone prominently featured in Young Bloomsbury was homosexual. John Tamny, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 None of the 500 British Muslims interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 25 Mar. 2011 Use of a slur that targets trans people increased 53%, while instances of an offensive term for homosexual men went up 39% over the yearly average. David Klepper, ajc, 11 Nov. 2022
Noun
Ah yes, the avid-young-reader-to-homosexual pipeline. Ashley Shannon Wu, Vulture, 16 Feb. 2022 There were also some differences between homosexual and heterosexuals in both groups. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 5 Oct. 2011 Yes in 21st century being homosexual is a punishable crime in Iran and now she and Elham Chobdar are sentenced to be executed. Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News, 6 Sep. 2022 Billy Eichner, noted homosexual, found himself the target of some odd gossip when a clickbait article touting his relationship with Noelle costar Anna Kendrick went viral. Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 19 June 2022 Every single homosexual in our country should be charged with a crime. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 9 June 2022 In 1895, Oscar Wilde had his boyfriend’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, arrested for accurately suggesting that Wilde was a homosexual. Kyle Smith, National Review, 14 Apr. 2022 Even in his lifetime, this Prussian royal was widely rumored to be a homosexual, though that term wouldn’t be coined till nearly 90 years after his death. NBC News, 18 Oct. 2021 When his roommate at the Naval Academy said jokingly last year that Andrew Atwill was a homosexual, the midshipman told him to cut it out. Taylor Deville, baltimoresun.com, 4 Aug. 2021

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

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

1891, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1894, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of homosexual was in 1891

Dictionary Entries Near homosexual

Cite this Entry

“Homosexual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homosexual. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

homosexual

1 of 2 adjective
ho·​mo·​sex·​u·​al ˌhō-mə-ˈsek-sh(ə-)wəl How to pronounce homosexual (audio)
-ˈsek-shəl
sometimes offensive
: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to people of one's same sex : gay
sometimes used disparagingly

homosexual

2 of 2 noun
often offensive
: a person and especially a male who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of their same sex
often used disparagingly

Medical Definition

homosexual

1 of 2 adjective
ho·​mo·​sex·​u·​al ˌhō-mə-ˈseksh-(ə-)wəl, -ˈsek-shəl How to pronounce homosexual (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to individuals of one's same sex : gay
2
: of, relating to, or involving sexual activity between persons of the same sex

Note: The adjective homosexual has been decreasing in use in published, edited text since the late 20th century, and is now sometimes considered offensive. The term has largely been replaced by gay, which can describe sexual or romantic attraction or activity between men or between women; by lesbian, which applies only to the latter; or by inclusive abbreviations such as LGBT ("lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender").

homosexually adverb

homosexual

2 of 2 noun
: a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of their same sex : a gay person and especially a male gay person

Note: The noun homosexual has seen a decrease in use in published, edited text since the mid-1990s and is now often regarded as offensive; instead, phrases that employ the adjectives gay and lesbian tend to be preferred, as in "a gay man," "a lesbian couple," "gay people," etc.

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