eunuch


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eu·nuch

 (yo͞o′nək)
n.
1. A castrated man, traditionally employed as a harem attendant or as a functionary in certain Asian courts.
2. Often Offensive A man or boy whose testes are nonfunctioning or have been removed.
3. Derogatory An ineffectual or powerless man.

[Middle English eunuk, from Latin eunūchus, from Greek eunoukhos : eunē, bed + -okhos, keeping (from ekhein, to keep; see segh- in Indo-European roots).]

eu′nuch·ism n.
Word History: Eunuch goes back to the Greek word eunoukhos, "a castrated male employed to serve the women in the women's quarters of a household and to act as chamberlain," and the Greek word is derived from eunē, "bed," and ekhein, "to hold, to keep." A eunuch is a "bed-keeper," so to speak. To avoid suspicion about the parentage of their children, upper-class men in many ancient societies would post eunuchs to guard and serve in the bedchambers of the women of their households. Nowadays, when the word eunuch is mentioned outside of discussions of history and ancient customs, it is mostly used metaphorically, in the sense "an ineffectual man." In ancient times, however, the eunuchs who served powerful people were often far from being ineffectual. Since they were privy to the personal lives of ruling families and had the opportunity to acquire politically and financially useful information, some eunuchs amassed enormous personal fortunes and rose to positions of great power and responsibility.

eunuch

(ˈjuːnək)
n
1. (Professions) a man who has been castrated, esp (formerly) for some office such as a guard in a harem
2. informal an ineffective man: a political eunuch.
[C15: via Latin from Greek eunoukhos attendant of the bedchamber, from eunē bed + ekhein to have, keep]

eu•nuch

(ˈyu nək)

n.
a castrated man, esp. one formerly employed by Oriental rulers as a harem guard or palace official.
[1350–1400; Middle English eunuk < Latin eunūchus < Greek eunoûchos=eun(ḗ) bed + -ouchos, variant of -ochos, n. derivative of échein to keep, have]
eu′nuch•ism, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.eunuch - a man who has been castrated and is incapable of reproductioneunuch - a man who has been castrated and is incapable of reproduction; "eunuchs guarded the harem"
adult male, man - an adult person who is male (as opposed to a woman); "there were two women and six men on the bus"
Translations
eunuch
eunukki
castraateunuch
eunuchkastrat

eunuch

[ˈjuːnək] Neunuco m

eunuch

[ˈjuːnək] neunuque m

eunuch

nEunuch m

eunuch

[ˈjuːnək] neunuco

eu·nuch

n. eunuco, hombre castrado.

eunuch

n eunuco
References in classic literature ?
The other Queen for whom they retain a great veneration is Candace, whom they call Judith, and indeed if what they relate of her could be proved, there never was, amongst the most illustrious and beneficent sovereigns, any to whom their country was more indebted, for it is said that she being converted by Inda her eunuch, whom St.
When Ming Huang bade the masterful eunuch Kao Li-shih unlace the poet's boots, he gave him a relentless enemy whose malice pursued him, until at length he was glad to beg leave to retire from the court, where he was never at ease and to which he never returned.
For he that cannot possibly mend his own case, will do what he can, to impair another's; except these defects light upon a very brave, and heroical nature, which thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honor; in that it should be said, that an eunuch, or a lame man, did such great matters; affecting the honor of a miracle; as it was in Narses the eunuch, and Agesilaus and Tamberlanes, that were lame men.
Periander the tyrant of Ambracia also lost his life by a conspiracy, for some improper liberties he took with a boy in his cups: and Philip was slain by Pausanias for neglecting to revenge him of the affront he had received from Attains; as was Amintas the Little by Darda, for insulting him on account of his age; and the eunuch by Evagoras the Cyprian in revenge for having taken his son's wife away from him .
You see this room," she said, "with the black eunuch outside?
He replied: They are like the punning riddles which are asked at feasts or the children's puzzle about the eunuch aiming at the bat, with what he hit him, as they say in the puzzle, and upon what the bat was sitting.
Now early that evening the Caliph secretly left the palace, accompanied by his grand-vizir, Giafar, and Mesrour, chief of the eunuchs, all three wearing the dresses of merchants.
But at least we shall see her," said Beauchamp, "or do you keep eunuchs as well as mutes?
From force of habit, though the small studio with the stove lit was very hot, he kept on his great-coat, with the collar turned up, and his bowler hat: he looked with satisfaction on the four large fiaschi of Chianti which stood in front of him in a row, two on each side of a bottle of whiskey; he said it reminded him of a slim fair Circassian guarded by four corpulent eunuchs.
Conduct her thither, E-Thas, with a suitable guard of honor and see to it that slaves and eunuchs be placed at her disposal, who shall attend upon all her wants and guard her carefully from harm.
He stands out among contemporary rhymesters - magazine rhymesters - as a gladiator stands out in the midst of a band of eunuchs.
He saw how it resulted in restless intrigues, like those of a harem between eunuchs and women and imbecile sultans, or the petty troubles of nuns full of underhand vexations, or college tyrannies, or diplomatic manoeuvrings fit to terrify an ambassador, all put in motion to obtain a fee or an increase in salary; it was like the hopping of fleas harnessed to pasteboard cars, the spitefulness of slaves, often visited on the minister himself.