- gender (n.)
- c. 1300, "kind, sort, class," from Old French gendre, genre "kind, species; character; gender" (12c., Modern French genre), from stem of Latin genus (genitive generis) "race, stock, family; kind, rank, order; species," also "(male or female) sex," from PIE root *gene- (see genus). Also used in Latin to translate Aristotle's Greek grammatical term genos. The grammatical sense is attested in English from late 14c. The -d- is a phonetic accretion in Old French (compare sound (n.1)).
The "male-or-female sex" sense is attested in English from early 15c. As sex (n.) took on erotic qualities in 20c., gender came to be the usual English word for "sex of a human being," in which use it was at first regarded as colloquial or humorous. Later often in feminist writing with reference to social attributes as much as biological qualities; this sense first attested 1963. Gender-bender is from 1977, popularized from 1980, with reference to pop star David Bowie.
- gender (v.)
- "to bring forth," late 14c., from Old French gendrer, genrer "engender, beget, give birth to," from Latin generare "to engender, beget, produce" (see generation). Related: Gendered; gendering.