fair sex

fair sex

noun Older Use: Sometimes Offensive.
women as a group (usually used facetiously): an insult to the fair sex.
Also, fairer sex.


Origin:
1680–90


This is a dated term, usually used for humorous effect. It uses the word fair in the sense of “physically attractive”; because it refers to a woman in terms of her appearance, it is sometimes perceived as demeaning.
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World English Dictionary
fair sex
 
n
the fair sex women collectively

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

fair sex

Girls or women, as in Many women would object to being called the fair sex nowadays. This euphemism uses fair in the sense of "physically beautiful" and is probably dying out. [Mid-1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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