Meaning of hermaphrodite in English:


Pronunciation /həːˈmafrədʌɪt/

See synonyms for hermaphrodite

Translate hermaphrodite into Spanish


  • 1A person or animal having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics, either abnormally or (in the case of some organisms) as the natural condition.

    ‘In two lines, XX transgenic mice developed as females, and in three lines XX transgenic mice developed as females, hermaphrodites, or males.’
    • ‘This nematode reproduces primarily by self-fertilization of adult hermaphrodites, although males can develop under special conditions.’
    • ‘Snails are hermaphrodites (male & female) and can have 200 eggs.’
    • ‘However, even in hermaphrodites, male and female meiosis may not occur at the same time - and therefore may occur under different conditions.’
    • ‘A third possibility is that the Belle Isle bamboo shark is a hermaphrodite, harboring both male and female sex organs, and capable of fertilizing its own eggs.’
    • ‘Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites - with both male and female sexual equipment - and they meet in groups, attracted by pheromones.’
    • ‘A small number of eunuchs are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female characteristics, or transvestites.’
    • ‘The idea of the hermaphrodite who has fully functioning male and female organs and is capable of self-fertilization is a myth, though a very persistent one, which has long exercised a fascination over the human mind.’
    • ‘The barramundi is also a hermaphrodite, born male but switching to female at sexual maturity, at around five years old, when they begin travelling downstream to spawn.’
    • ‘The rates of births for which sex was uncertain, or of births diagnosed as hermaphrodites, were studied for 4-year periods from 1967 to 1998.’
    • ‘Single-sex groups of males, but not hermaphrodites, were observed to congregate into clumps of animals attempting to mate with one another.’
    • ‘In simultaneous hermaphrodites, both male and female roles are present in the same individual.’
    • ‘Perhaps most interesting is Dieta Sixt, a self-described hermaphrodite who investigated her female side, then her male side, and has finally settled somewhere in the middle.’
    • ‘The Hippocratic paradigm assumed that sex existed along a sort of continuum from the extreme male to the extreme female and that the hermaphrodite therefore was s/he who lay in the middle.’
    • ‘The widely used herbicide atrazine can convert male frogs into hermaphrodites.’
    • ‘It also shows favorable features for vulva genetics: self-fertilizing hermaphrodites with facultative males and a fast life cycle.’
    • ‘There is thus a dynamic interaction between the processes of sex allocation and other sexually selected strategies in animal hermaphrodites.’
    • ‘In Hayes' study, African clawed frog tadpoles exposed to levels of atrazine commonly found in the environment were demasculinized and turned into hermaphrodites - creatures with both male and female genitalia.’
    • ‘Because earthworms are hermaphrodites, no sexual differences were taken into account during the experiments.’
    • ‘When males were present in the brood, hermaphrodites were separated from males during the final larval stage to preserve their virginity.’
    intersex, androgyne
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Botany A plant having stamens and pistils in the same flower.
      ‘In this population, the male cyathia produced on average 100 pollen grains more per stamen than the hermaphrodites, but this difference was not significant.’
      • ‘Most flowering plant species are hermaphrodite and possess flowers in which male and female reproductive organs are in close proximity.’
      • ‘In all but two plants examined, this flower matured as a hermaphrodite; in the exceptions, the carpel aborted, producing a male flower.’
      • ‘Gynodioecy, the coexistence of hermaphrodite and female (male sterile) individuals in natural populations, is relatively frequent in angiosperm species.’
      • ‘In plants we find that under low resourced conditions, poor resourced conditions, the plants flower as males, and then under better conditions they flower as hermaphrodites and express female function.’
    2. 1.2 archaic A person or thing combining opposite qualities or characteristics.


  • Of or denoting a person, animal, or plant having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics.

    ‘hermaphrodite creatures in classical sculpture’
    • ‘Most Pampas grass plants are either male or female, though odd plants may be hermaphrodite.’
    • ‘Twenty female and 20 hermaphrodite plants were chosen randomly in each population.’
    • ‘One female and one hermaphrodite plant that did not produce any fruit were excluded from the analyses.’
    • ‘SELF-incompatibility is a genetic mechanism used by hermaphrodite plants to prevent self-fertilization and to promote outbreeding.’
    • ‘However, when pollinators were excluded from the flowers at night but not in the day, there was no effect on fruit set in female plants and even a slight increase in hermaphrodite plants.’
    • ‘A second approach to looking for imprinting in C. elegans has been to generate diploid animals in which both copies of a given chromosome are derived from the same parent, from either the male parent or hermaphrodite parent.’
    • ‘A long tail on the survival curve, representing a small minority of long-lived survivors, was seen in male but not hermaphrodite populations.’
    • ‘All individuals were selected from sibships that had both female and hermaphrodite progeny, so all individuals carried a fertility cytoplasm that is susceptible to restoration.’
    • ‘Now, a new study provides the first experimental evidence that some hermaphrodite animals also benefit from promoting maleness when faced with troublesome conditions.’
    • ‘We observed complete interference for both oogenesis and spermatogenesis in hermaphrodite animals and for the entire lengths of both an autosome and the X chromosome.’
    • ‘This allowed construction of a male / hermaphrodite strain.’
    • ‘Each plant was marked at the beginning of the flowering and visited every 7-10 days, noting the number of male and hermaphrodite cyathia at each level of the inflorescence.’
    • ‘This situation never happens for nuclear genes because at least half of the nuclear genes carried by females necessarily derive from hermaphrodite parents.’
    • ‘Poor old Kyle and Chardonnay have had nothing much to do this series, except provide a stream of public service information about hermaphrodite babies.’
    • ‘The painting presents a heavily pregnant two-tone, two-headed, hermaphrodite figure in x-ray on a background of what also appears to be a row of x-rayed teeth.’
    • ‘Such individuals are able to reproduce, and most adult hermaphrodite bears are actually females that successfully raise cubs.’
    • ‘Wild beets are gynodioecious: both female and hermaphrodite individuals coexist frequently within natural populations.’
    • ‘Earlier this year another team of scientists reported the creation of a hermaphrodite embryo containing male and female cells.’
    • ‘However, seeds from hermaphrodite trees always segregate into hermaphrodites and females at the ratio of 2: 1 and the sex types of the plants can be determined only by inspection of the flowers.’
    • ‘Animals developed as perfectly normal hermaphrodites if derived from a heterozygous hermaphrodite mother.’
    hermaphroditic, intersex, epicene
    View synonyms


Late Middle English via Latin from Greek hermaphroditos (see Hermaphroditus).