Definition of transvestite
: a person who wears clothes designed for the opposite sex : a cross-dresser An older term for crossdresser is transvestite. Crossdressers often dress only in certain situations. They do not usually identify as transgender—most identify as straight men. — Laura Erickson-Schroth
Did You Know?
Transvestite includes the prefix trans-, "across", and thus means literally "cross-dresser". In the theater, from ancient Greece to Elizabethan England, transvestism was common because all parts—even Juliet—were played by men. Traditional Japanese Kabuki and Noh drama still employ transvestism of this sort. In everyday life, it's now so acceptable for women to wear men's clothing that the word transvestite is generally applied only to men. The much newer word transgender describes people who think of themselves as having changed sex, or who simply don't believe in the idea that they're either one sex or the other.
Origin and Etymology of transvestite
German Transvestit, from Latin trans- + vestire to clothe — more at vest
First Known Use: 1911
TRANSVESTITE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of transvestite for English Language Learners
: a person who likes to dress like a person of the opposite sex
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