bisexual


bisexual
bisexual adj Bisexual, hermaphroditic, hermaphrodite, androgynous, epicene are comparable when meaning combining male and female qualities. The first four of these terms may be used interchangeably to mean being structurally or functionally both male and female; they may apply to all kinds of living beings and may designate a normal or an abnormal state.
Bisexual also is applied to human mental or behavioral qualities
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careers catastrophically broken by the vagaries of bisexual personality— New Republic

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and, more precisely, designates the individual who responds sexually to members of both sexes
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the ancient Greeks who were notoriously bisexual (women for breeding and boys for pleasure)— Gerber

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Such use need not imply abnormality
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the author accepts the notion of the bisexual character of man— Mullahy

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Hermaphroditic and hermaphrodite when applied to human beings usually indicate primarily the presence of physical characteristics and especially of actual gonads of both sexes in the same individual and imply an abnormal state
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hermaphroditic children, where both ovaries and testes are present— Newsweek

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Hermaphrodite frequently or hermaphroditic occasionally has extended use in which it suggests the combination of two readily distinguishable and often more or less incongruous elements; thus, a hermaphrodite wagon is one made up of a two-wheeled cart with an extra pair of wheels and a rack added; hermaphrodite calipers have one caliper and one divider leg
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a young Konigsberg architect, a Bait (that is to say a kind of hermaphrodite Russian and Prussian too)— Clare Sheridan

}
{

everybody in every war, barring the hermaphrodite soldier who wears a uniform but doesn't fight, lives in a sort of hell— Kenneth Roberts

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Androgynous in reference to human beings or to qualities or characteristics rarely connotes abnormality but rather suggests a congruous and pleasing blending
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has the androgynous Greek beauty which suits a youth or a goddess equally well, combining the vigor of one sex with the grace of the other— The Critic

}
{

if one is a man, still the woman part of the brain must have effect; and a woman must also have intercourse with the man in her. Coleridge perhaps meant this when he said that a great mind is androgynousWoolf

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Androgynous is also the preferred term for use in respect to deities, their attributes or appearances
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a somewhat androgynous Apollo— Grigson

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{

the androgynous character of the Bodhisattva: masculine Avalokiteshvara, feminine Kwan Yin— Joseph Campbell

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Unlike the preceding terms, epicene has no technical application to physical or functional status; however, in its often allusive reference to sex in characterizing human beings, their attributes, or the products of their being it may approach the other terms in meaning
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decapitated by a hero disguised as a woman ... his brothers suspect the epicene wife because of her masculine arms— Lowie

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More often epicene suggests deficient sexuality and may imply intersexuality, effeminacy, or sexlessness
{

the hearty sportsman who is really epicene beneath his tweeds— Gibbs

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{

if only all this messy business of sex could be done away with and we could all remain . . . happy, epicene Peter Pans— Dwight Macdonald

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In some contexts epicene loses all direct reference to sex and suggests rather the weakness inherent in deficiency which may be expressed on the one hand in extreme delicacy
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something dreamy, ambiguous, almost epiceneNorman Douglas

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or on the other in utter decadence
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the glass of fashion and the mold of form, so dainty a figure, indeed, that he turned Mark Twain's stomach and appears as an epicene clown in the American's robust story— G. W. Johnson

}

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms: