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

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 researchers then re-scaled the data to fit estimates of drinking by age group in various areas and among the sexes. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "There’s no risk-free amount of alcohol, population-level study finds," 27 Aug. 2018 While cycling enthusiasts rhapsodized about the safety bicycle’s benefits for riders of both sexes and all ages, doctors fretted that many of their patients would be harmed by the new machines. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Wheel, the Woman, and the Human Body," 6 July 2018 Instead, The Blob, which has 720 sexes, is actually a slime mold belonging to the Myxomycetes family, and will go on display at the Paris Zoological Park beginning tomorrow. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "The Blob: What the Hell?," 18 Oct. 2019 What looks like a fungus, acts like an animal and has almost 720 sexes? Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: ‘Get over it’," 18 Oct. 2019 Compounding its oddities, P. polycephalum has nearly 720 distinct sexes. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Paris Zoo Unveils Bizarre, Brainless ‘Blob’ Capable of Learning—and Eating Oatmeal," 18 Oct. 2019 This blob at the Paris zoo has 720 sexes and can heal itself if it's cut in two. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things to know for October 18: Syria, impeachment, Brexit, GM, storms," 18 Oct. 2019 Generally, both male and female orcas stay in their natal pod throughout their entire lives, although both sexes search for mates from other pods to prevent inbreeding. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Why do orca grandmothers live so long? It's for their grandkids.," 9 Dec. 2019 The researchers suggest this may be a result of the sexes often roosting separately, with female roosts being bigger. The Economist, "Museums’ animal collections favour males," 26 Oct. 2019 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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Time Traveler for sex

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sex

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sex.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sexes. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sex

sex

noun
How to pronounce sex (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sex

Spanish Central: Translation of sex

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sex

Comments on sex

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