sex

noun
\ ˈseks How to pronounce sex (audio) \

Definition of sex

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures In the past, couples could hold fast to their dreams about their baby's sex until the moment of truth in the delivery room.— Jacquelyn Mitchard
b : the sum of the structural, functional, and sometimes behavioral characteristics of organisms that distinguish males and females Doctors can alter the physical characteristics of sex, but bodily sex does not determine gender.— Dinitia Smith
c : the state of being male or female … Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex.— Tamar Lewin
d : males or females considered as a group He gave the minister a sly look, daring him to disparage the female sex.— Evelyn Anthony
2a : sexually motivated phenomena or behavior
3 : genitalia

sex

verb
sexed; sexing; sexes

Definition of sex (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to identify the sex of sex newborn chicks
2a : to increase the sexual appeal of often used with up
b : to arouse the sexual desires of

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Examples of sex in a Sentence

Noun

The form asks for your name, age, and sex. The couple didn't know what the sex of their baby would be. How do you tell the sex of a hamster? discrimination on the basis of sex Some feel men are the more aggressive sex. All he ever thinks about is sex. Her mom talked to her about sex. She doesn't like all the sex and violence in movies. He had sex with his girlfriend.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The differences between the sexes had become too pronounced and so Kerr switched to football, a sport which was alien to the AFL community she had been brought up in. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Sam Kerr: The football prodigy who became Australia's million dollar player," 11 June 2019 Although the finger ratio is usually smaller in men, the gap between the sexes is small. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Talk to the hand. Scientists try to debunk idea that finger length can reveal personality and health," 6 June 2019 Not all turtles regulate their sexes this way, but snapping turtles are like green sea turtles in this regard. Ben Guarino, Washington Post, "Climate change is turning 99 percent of these baby sea turtles female," 8 Jan. 2018 Outside of government, both sexes seem to be waging a war on the post-2008 new normal. James Freeman, WSJ, "Gender, Likability and Opportunity," 7 Jan. 2019 Even if feminism, by definition, means political, economic, and social equality of the sexes—and who can’t get behind that?—the term has attached to it a stigma of chilliness, prudishness, humorlessness. Lili Anolik, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Eve Babitz Is Becoming an Unlikely Icon for Millennial Women," 24 Jan. 2019 Most history-conscious people in America and across the world know, for instance, the story of the My Lai Massacre of March 1968, when U.S. troops murdered at least 504 Vietnamese people of all ages and both sexes. Max Hastings, WSJ, "The Hidden Atrocities of the Vietnam War," 4 Oct. 2018 Forget xoxo as the new exclamation point—was the email sign-off the new sparring ground for the battle of the sexes? Chloe Schama, Vogue, "“XOXO”: What Does Your Email Sign-Off Say About You?," 20 Sep. 2018 The gynandromorph, as it is known, has a mixture of male and female genes and expresses traits from both sexes. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Rare Yellow Cardinal Spotted at Alabama Bird Feeder," 27 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The preppy East Coast label has collaborated with everyone from Sacai and Supreme to Vetements, but West’s topper was a fresh foil for her typically sexed-up take on sportswear. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Has a New Favorite Outerwear Brand," 13 Dec. 2018 Yandy’s ark of offerings is evidence that pretty much any animal can be sexed up, although not all animals are equally alluring. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Why are “sexy” cats a thing?," 26 Oct. 2018 The most sexed-up take on the look saw one guy swaggering down the runway like a cheeky gunslinger. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Are You Ready for the Return of Tighty-Whities? Gucci Sure Is," 25 Sep. 2018 Wills is officially headed to paradise, or, at least, sexed-up Bachelor Nation spin-off series Bachelor In Paradise, as People announced. refinery29.com, "Can We Start The Wills Reid For Bachelor Campaign Right Now?," 10 July 2018 The classic look would often get sexed up with spit curls that lay slicked to the forehead, at the nape of the neck, or in front of the ear, thanks to the influence of Josephine Baker. Rebecca Norris, Allure, "Watch 100 Years of Iconic Short-Hair Trends in Under Four Minutes," 22 May 2018 Each walleye harvested by the tribes is measured and sexed. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Researchers document walleye decline in Wisconsin waters," 9 May 2018 What ensues is a modern-day, faintly unpleasant, sexed-up comedy of errors on both sides. Jocelyn Mcclurg, USA TODAY, "Curtis Sittenfeld has her finger on America's pulse in 10 witty, zippy short stories," 30 Apr. 2018 His aura was a regal, ethereal, sexed-up shade of purple, and his style had to match all of that pomp. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Meet the Man Who Made 3,000 Pairs of High Heels for Prince," 19 Apr. 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1878, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sex

Noun

Middle English, from Latin sexus

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Learn More about sex

Dictionary Entries near sex

sewround

sewster

sew up

sex

sex act

sexadecimal

sexagenarian

Statistics for sex

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sex

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

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More Definitions for sex

sex

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sex

: the state of being male or female
: men or male animals as a group or women or female animals as a group
: physical activity in which people touch each other's bodies, kiss each other, etc. : physical activity that is related to and often includes sexual intercourse

sex

noun
\ ˈseks How to pronounce sex (audio) \

Kids Definition of sex

1 : either of two divisions into which many living things can be divided according to their roles in reproduction and which consist of males or females
2 : the state of being male or female The form asks for your name, age, and sex.
3 : sexual activity

sex

noun
\ ˈseks How to pronounce sex (audio) \

Medical Definition of sex

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as male or female especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures In the past, couples could hold fast to their dreams about their baby's sex until the moment of truth in the delivery room.— Jacquelyn Mitchard
b : the sum of the structural, functional, and sometimes behavioral characteristics of organisms that distinguish males and females Doctors can alter the physical characteristics of sex, but bodily sex does not determine gender.— Dinitia Smith
c : the state of being male or female Inherited risks refer here to biological vulnerability to illness because of one's sex.— Lois M. Verbrugge
2a : sexually motivated phenomena or behavior

Medical Definition of sex (Entry 2 of 2)

: to identify the sex of techniques for sexing human embryos

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More from Merriam-Webster on sex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sex

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sex

Spanish Central: Translation of sex

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sex

Comments on sex

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