eunuchism

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-).]
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.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • eunuchism — eunuchísm s. n. Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  EUNUCHÍSM s.n. Stare a eunucului. [pron. e u . / cf. fr. eunuchisme]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DN  EUNUCHÍSM s. n …   Dicționar Român

  • Eunuchism — Eu nuch*ism, n. [L. eunuchismus an unmanning, Gr. ?: cf. F. eunuchisme eunuchism.] The state of being eunuch. Bp. Hall. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • eunuchism — noun see eunuch …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • eunuchism — /yooh neuh kiz euhm/, n. the state of being a eunuch. Also, eunuchry /yooh neuhk ree/. [1610 20; EUNUCH + ISM] * * * …   Universalium

  • eunuchism — 1. The state of being a eunuch; absence of the testes or failure of the gonads to develop or function with consequent lack of reproductive and sexual function and of development of secondary sex characteristics. 2. SYN …   Medical dictionary

  • eunuchism — n. practice or process of making eunuchs; state of being castrated; castration, emasculation …   English contemporary dictionary

  • eunuchism — eu·nuch·ism …   English syllables

  • eunuchism — ˌkizəm noun ( s) Etymology: Late Latin eunuchismus, from Greek eunouchismos, from eunouchos + ismos ism : the condition of being a eunuch …   Useful english dictionary

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