her·​maph·​ro·​dite | \ (ˌ)hər-ˈma-frə-ˌdīt How to pronounce hermaphrodite (audio) \
plural hermaphrodites

Definition of hermaphrodite

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an animal or plant having both male and female reproductive organs, structures, or tissue : an organism exhibiting hermaphroditism
2 : something that is a combination of diverse elements



Definition of hermaphrodite (Entry 2 of 2)

: possessing both male and female reproductive organs, structures, or tissue : hermaphroditic hermaphrodite plants Like their relatives the earthworms, leeches are hermaphrodite animals. Each individual has both male and female sex organs but cannot fertilize itself.— Mark Carwardine

Examples of hermaphrodite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With the new 7 Series, BMW is presenting a hermaphrodite, in contrast to the Mercedes EQS. Neil Winton, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 The lancetfish found onshore in Drake’s Bay at Point Reyes National Seashore had a gaping fanged jaw, is cannibalistic, a hermaphrodite and has no scales, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Gale Hollandstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 Jeffdanielsi are mostly self-fertilizing hermaphrodites that produce their own sperm and eggs; on average, a single hermaphrodite can produce 160 babies in its lifespan. Todd Spangler, Variety, 19 Jan. 2022 Over centuries, the matted-haired, animal-skin wearing, hash-smoker has evolved into many things, including a hermaphrodite, for many people. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, 18 Dec. 2019 The majority of worms, also known as nematodes, generally break down into males and hermaphrodites. Fox News, 27 Sep. 2019 Leeches are hermaphrodites and have what's known as accessory pores that secrete mucus, which helps them stick together while mating. oregonlive, 2 Sep. 2019 More than 30 years ago a team of scientists painstakingly traced the connections among each of the 302 nerve cells in the hermaphrodite Caenorhabditis elegans worm. Karen Weintraub, Scientific American, 3 July 2019 Typically the female roundworms of this intriguing species (Caenorhabditis elegans) are hermaphrodites and don’t need males to reproduce. National Geographic, 14 June 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hermaphrodite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hermaphrodite


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hermaphrodite


Middle English hermofrodite, from Latin hermaphroditus, from Greek hermaphroditos, from Hermaphroditos

Learn More About hermaphrodite

Time Traveler for hermaphrodite

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near hermaphrodite

Hermann's fluid


hermaphrodite brig

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hermaphrodite

Cite this Entry

“Hermaphrodite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hermaphrodite. Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for hermaphrodite


her·​maph·​ro·​dite | \ (ˌ)hər-ˈmaf-rə-ˌdīt How to pronounce hermaphrodite (audio) \

Medical Definition of hermaphrodite

: an individual exhibiting hermaphroditism

Other Words from hermaphrodite

hermaphrodite adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on hermaphrodite

Nglish: Translation of hermaphrodite for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!