Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A castrated man employed as a harem attendant or as a functionary in certain Asian courts.
  • n. A man or boy whose testes are nonfunctioning or have been removed.
  • n. Informal An ineffectual, powerless, or unmasculine man.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A castrated human male.
  • n. A sterilized human female (cf. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer).
  • n. Such a man employed as harem guard or in certain (mainly Eastern) monarchies (e.g. late Roman and Chinese Empires) as court or state officials.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A male of the human species castrated; commonly, one of a class of such persons, in Oriental countries, having charge of the women's apartments. Some of them, in former times, gained high official rank.
  • transitive v. To make a eunuch of; to castrate. as a man.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In the East, a chamberlain; a keeper of the bedchamber, or of the women in a large or polygamous household: an office generally (and in the latter case always) held by castrated men, and often bringing to its holders in princely houses great political influence.
  • n. Hence, in general Any castrated male of the human species.
  • Unproductive; barren.
  • To make a eunuch of; castrate, as a man.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a man who has been castrated and is incapable of reproduction

Etymologies

Middle English eunuk, from Latin eunūchus, from Greek eunoukhos : eunē, bed + -okhos, keeping (from ekhein, to keep).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowed from Latin eunuchus, originally from Ancient Greek εὐνοῦχος (eunoukhos), from εὐνή (eunē, "bed") + ἔχω (ekhō, "I have, keep"). Originally probably used to refer to a bed chamber attendant. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term eunuch is used in India to describe transvestites, transsexuals and others who identify themselves as neither male nor female but as a members of a third gender.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • The term eunuch, or hijra, is used in India to describe transvestites, transsexuals and others who identify themselves as neither male nor female but as a member of a third gender.

    Indian Eunuchs Mourn Fire Victims

  • The book arrives as a museum dedicated to eunuchs, built around the tomb of a 16th century eunuch, is undergoing a major expansion.

    Boing Boing

  • As they were talking, there came an eunuch from the Commander of the Faithful, in quest of Kut al-Kulub, for, when he knew that she was in the house of Ibn al-Kirnas, he could not endure the severance, but bade bring her forthwith.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • But as the jealous and dissolute temperament of the East required this charge to be in the hands of persons who had been deprived of their virility, the word eunuch came naturally to denote persons in that condition.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • When he had made an end of eating, he called the eunuch, who washed his hands.

    The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume III

  • So he called the eunuch and bade him go forthright to his Vizier and bid him assemble the whole of the troops and cause them don their arms and mount their horses.

    The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume IV

  • The eunuch is baptized in the name of Christ, v. 36-38.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • The modern meaning of the word eunuch is a castrated male.

    Yahoo! Answers: Latest Questions

  • Dodge couldn’t catch all of Albright’s response to that, but he picked up the word eunuch, which pissed him off.

    Tough Customer

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