Definition of sex in English:


Line breaks: sex
Pronunciation: /sɛks


  • 2Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions: adults of both sexes
    More example sentences
    • While there are only two sexes - male and female - there can be an unlimited number of genders.
    • The male and female sexes grew out of this advantage over the subsequent millions of years of evolution.
    • The two great sexes of male and female, says Milton, animate the world.
  • 2.1 [mass noun] The fact of belonging to either the male or female sex: direct discrimination involves treating someone less favourably on the grounds of their sex
    More example sentences
    • Kelly Holmes has been out of the army for six years now but still she bemoans the fact that her sex precluded her from getting into the boxing ring and pummelling a few people.
    • Despite some close friends, no one knew her true sex, and that fact was what had saved her from her mother's fate.
    • As an educated woman, Addams was constrained by the fact of her sex, and yet eager to be effective in the world.
  • 2.2The group of all members of either the male or female sex: she was well known for her efforts to improve the social condition of her sex
    More example sentences
    • Members of both sexes are getting heavily into debt to pay for operations on credit cards or through bank loans.
    • Elsewhere on the record, Merchant plays the role of experienced woman, dispensing advice to younger members of her sex.
    • Watch them when they are talking to members of their own sex and you'll see what I mean.


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Determine the sex of: each bird would need to be individually sexed
    More example sentences
    • I think they came over because they were more adept at sexing chickens than we were.
    • Animals could be sexed 1 year from birth using our enhanced feeding protocols.
    • We collected pupae and sexed them by the morphology of the eighth abdominal segment.
  • 2 (sex something up) • informal Present something in a more interesting or lively way.
    More example sentences
    • In his historical pastiche, Wells elects to take the past and sex it up a little.
    • Gilligan had a genuine scoop - but made the mistake of sexing it up a notch too far.
    • There is little attempt to sex things up for a restless modern audience or indulge in self-conscious irony.
  • 3 (sex someone up) • informal Arouse or attempt to arouse someone sexually.
    More example sentences
    • I can easily sleep with him, not sex him up, but just sleep, peacefully, in the same bed.



More example sentences
  • A Japanese man has made an emotional 5,000-mile trip to Hebden Bridge to retrace his father's steps after discovering diaries detailing his time there in the 1930s as an expert chicken sexer.
  • My friend David briefly courted a Chinese chicken sexer 25 years ago, but the relationship was too fleeting for any of her talents to pass via him to me, at least not that I can remember.
  • A charming woman and a steamy sexer, her name still raises pulses in fans of erotic entertainment.


late Middle English (denoting the two categories, male and female): from Old French sexe or Latin sexus.


On the difference in use between the words sex (in sense 2 above) and gender, see gender (usage).

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