a. Sexual activity, especially sexual intercourse: hasn't had sex in months.
b. The sexual urge or instinct as it manifests itself in behavior: motivated by sex.
a. Either of the two divisions, designated female and male, by which most organisms are classified on the basis of their reproductive organs and functions: How do you determine the sex of a lobster?
b. The fact or condition of existing in these two divisions, especially the collection of characteristics that distinguish female and male: the evolution of sex in plants; a study that takes sex into account. See Usage Note at gender.
3. Females or males considered as a group: dormitories that house only one sex.
4. One's identity as either female or male.
5. The genitals.
tr.v. sexed, sex·ing, sex·es
1. To determine the sex of (an organism).
a. To arouse sexually. Often used with up.
b. To increase the appeal or attractiveness of. Often used with up.
[Middle English, from Latin sexus.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.