follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

eunuch

[yoo-nuh k] /ˈyu nək/
noun
1.
a castrated man, especially one formerly employed by Oriental rulers as a harem guard or palace official.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English eunuk < Latin eunūchus < Greek eunoûchos eunuch, chamberlain, equivalent to eune-, stem of eunḗ bed, place of sleeping + -ochos keeping (akin to échein to hold
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for eunuch
  • It was like being verbally assaulted by some sort of sleepy incoherent hippie eunuch.
  • In this murder mystery set in 1836 Istanbul, the investigator is a court eunuch.
  • Get out of my sight you childless eunuch.
  • At last the impious Vartranes made a trembling push, and stabbed the holy eunuch.
  • Workers had discovered a eunuch mausoleum buried under the site of the skeet .
  • The eunuch replied that he had none, since he lacked the means of reproduction.
  • Anna disguises herself as a eunuch and works her way up in society among feuding politicians and priests.
British Dictionary definitions for eunuch

eunuch

/ˈjuːnək/
noun
1.
a man who has been castrated, esp (formerly) for some office such as a guard in a harem
2.
(informal) an ineffective man: a political eunuch
Word Origin
C15: via Latin from Greek eunoukhos attendant of the bedchamber, from eunē bed + ekhein to have, keep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for eunuch
n.

late 14c., from Middle French eunuque and directly from Latin eunuchus, from Greek eunoukhos "castrated man," originally "guard of the bedchamber or harem," from euno-, comb. form of eune "bed," of unknown origin, + -okhos, from stem of ekhein "to have, hold" (see scheme (n.)).

The Greek and Latin forms of the word were used to translate Hebrew saris, which sometimes meant merely "palace official," in Septuagint and Vulgate, probably without an intended comment on the qualities of bureaucrats.

Eunuches is he þat is i-gilded, and suche were somtyme i-made wardeynes of ladyes in Egipt. [John of Trevisa, translation of Higdon's Polychronicon, 1387]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
eunuch in Medicine

eunuch eu·nuch (yōō'nək)
n.
A man or boy whose testes have been removed or have never developed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
eunuch in the Bible

literally bed-keeper or chamberlain, and not necessarily in all cases one who was mutilated, although the practice of employing such mutilated persons in Oriental courts was common (2 Kings 9:32; Esther 2:3). The law of Moses excluded them from the congregation (Deut. 23:1). They were common also among the Greeks and Romans. It is said that even to-day there are some in Rome who are employed in singing soprano in the Sistine Chapel. Three classes of eunuchs are mentioned in Matt. 19:12.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for eunuch

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for eunuch

11
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with eunuch

Nearby words for eunuch