Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday September 7, 2004
1. Having the characteristics of both sexes.
2. Effeminate; unmasculine.
3. Sexless; neuter.
4. (Linguistics) Having but one form of the noun for both the male and the female.
1. A person or thing that is epicene.
2. (Linguistics) An epicene word.
He has a clear-eyed, epicene handsomeness -- cruel, sensuous mouth; cheekbones to cut your heart on -- the sort of excessive beauty that is best appreciated in repose on a 50-foot screen.
-- Franz Lidz, "Jude Law: He Didn't Turn Out Obscure at All", New York Times, May 13, 2001
She smothers (almost literally at times) her weak, epicene son Vladimir, and is prepared to commit any crime to see him become Tsar, despite his reluctance.
-- Ronald Bergan, Sergei Eisenstein: A Life in Conflict
Epicene derives from Latin epicoenus, from Greek epikoinos, "common to," from epi-, "upon" + koinos, "common."