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20th century, and is now sometimes considered offensive, since the word can be seen as evoking negative stereotypes and outdated clinical understandings of homosexuality as a psychiatric condition. The term has largely been replaced by gay, which can describe sexual or romantic attraction or activity between men or between women; by lesbian, which applies only to the latter; or by inclusive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the mid-1990s and is now often regarded as offensive, since the word can be seen as evoking negative stereotypes and outdated clinical understandings of homosexuality as a psychiatric condition.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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
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, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Nov. 2022 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 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, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2022 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, Chicago Tribune, 10 Nov. 2022 Because of the stigma that AIDS was considered a homosexual disease. Vernon Scott, Good Housekeeping, 23 Oct. 2022 The hateful museum-board-meeting scene mocking homosexual privilege (Bisexuals vs. Lesbians) is a disgraceful update of those Gay 101 lessons that writer Paul Rudnick provided in Jeffrey and In & Out. Armond White, National Review, 30 Sep. 2022 Surprisingly, perhaps just for us, was the amount of homosexual relations there were in the book—with women of all ages. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, 11 Sep. 2022 Under Iran's legal system, homosexual acts can be punished by the death penalty. Hadas Gold And Abeer Salman, CNN, 5 Sep. 2022
Noun
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 That said, my problem is with my younger brother, who is a homosexual. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 6 Apr. 2021 The clip apparently at odds with Harry’s values features Knowles and Nicolosi discussing the treatments Nicolosi uses at the Reintegrative Therapy Association for patients who wish to change their behavior from homosexual to heterosexual tendencies. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, 22 Mar. 2021 See More

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

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 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

homosexual 1 of 2

adjective

ho·​mo·​sex·​u·​al ˌhō-mə-ˈseksh-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce homosexual (audio)
-ˈsek-shəl
: of, relating to, or showing sexual desire toward another of the same sex

homosexual

2 of 2

noun

: a homosexual individual

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on homosexual

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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