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1. Having characteristics of both sexes.
2. Having characteristics traditionally ascribed to the other sex, especially as a male who is considered to be effeminate.
3. Having no characteristics of either sex.
4. Linguistics Having only one form for both the male and the female: an epicene pronoun.
1. One that is epicene.
2. Linguistics An epicene word.

[Middle English, having only one form of the noun for either gender, from Latin epicoenus, from Greek epikoinos, in common : epi-, epi- + koinos, common; see kom in Indo-European roots.]

ep′i·cen′ism n.


1. having the characteristics of both sexes; hermaphroditic
2. of neither sex; sexless
3. effeminate
4. (Grammar) grammar
a. denoting a noun that may refer to a male or a female, such as teacher as opposed to businessman or shepherd
b. (in Latin, Greek, etc) denoting a noun that retains the same grammatical gender regardless of the sex of the referent
5. an epicene person or creature
6. (Grammar) an epicene noun
[C15: from Latin epicoenus of both genders, from Greek epikoinos common to many, from koinos common]
ˌepiˈcenism n


(ˈɛp ɪˌsin)

1. belonging to, or partaking of the characteristics of, both sexes.
2. flaccid; feeble: epicene prose.
3. effeminate; unmasculine.
a. (of a noun or pronoun) capable of referring to either sex, as attendant, or they.
b. (of Greek and Latin nouns) of the same gender class regardless of the sex of the referent.
5. an epicene person or thing.
[1400–50; < Latin epicoenus of both genders < Greek epíkoinos common to many =epi- epi- + koinós common]
ep′i•cen`ism, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.epicene - one having both male and female sexual characteristics and organsepicene - one having both male and female sexual characteristics and organs; at birth an unambiguous assignment of male or female cannot be made
bisexual, bisexual person - a person who is sexually attracted to both sexes
Adj.1.epicene - having an ambiguous sexual identity
androgynous - having both male and female characteristics
2.epicene - having unsuitable feminine qualities
unmanful, unmanlike, unmanly - not possessing qualities befitting a man


Having qualities more appropriate to women than to men:
beiderlei Geschlechts


[ˈepɪsiːn] ADJepiceno
References in classic literature ?
However persistently the epicene theorists of modern times may deny it, it is nevertheless a truth plainly visible in the whole past history of the sexes that the natural condition of a woman is to find her master in a man.
Looking back I can see that there was a rich seam amongst the 'e's with effrontery, effete, epicene, effulgence and (quite nearby) grummet all featuring in one section.
Lewis is again Malvolio, but a strutting, epicene version, rather than the earnest, humorless striver he gave us before.
It is impossible to read Webb and conclude that he has anything but loathing for the Fortunate Sons--the Jeb Bushes and Mitt Romneys--and the epicene polemicists who do their masters' bidding.
For example, in a discussion of Ben Jonson's Epicene, Wooding observes that it incorporates discourse on 'ladies' minute attention to their dress and their talkative and overbearing natures, all perennial matter for comedy until political correctness served to unsex humour' (178).
While contemporaries did find the king's appearance youthful, Moore's virtually unlined face and almost epicene appearance exaggerate that vision: He really is a boy in love.
The sitters in these paintings display an epicene beauty that suggests and harmonises elements of each sex, resulting in a beauty beyond that to be found in nature.
Actor Anton Adasinsky has made a specialty of performing Mephistopheles with his theater company, Derevo, and so was a natural choice to incarnate the soul-stealing, epicene demon who becomes Faust's constant companion and guide, much as the unnamed Marquis de Custine steers his charges through the Hermitage in Sokurov's one-take wonder, Russian Ark (2002; recently rereleased).
Francis attracted plenty of bets but the royals surely would have flinched from an epicene name (it sounds as though it could be male or female).
As such, Dale is a rare gift, thrust upon a movement such as ours that desires to shift the conservative debate away from the epicene gossip of the Westminster bubble, to core ideas and principles.
Much of the initial writing, predicted Summers (two years before the publication of Mother I'm Rooted), 'will necessarily be a ritual breaking of taboos', creating the conditions for a 'more epicene culture' (1973 4-11).
Un participant et son epouse frequentaient la petite epicene tenue par le frere de ce dernier depuis leur mariage en 1951.