[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 11, 1992

Gender Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Author Affiliations

Merriam-Webster Inc Springfield, Mass

JAMA. 1992;267(10):1342. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480100048026

To the Editor.  —The interesting exchange between Fletcher1 and Iverson2 on the subject of gender meaning "sex" has been brought to my attention. I would like to clarify some apparent confusion about the definition of gender and sex in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. "Sex" is given as the first sense of gender; there is no reciprocal mention of gender at the definition of sex because sex is not used in the sense of gender.The date (14c) on the entry for gender means that it has been used in the meaning "sex" since the 14th century. Its grammatical meaning has also been in use since the same century. Both meanings have coexisted and have been listed in dictionaries down to the present day. Around the turn of the century, dictionary editors began labeling the "sex" sense humorous or colloquial, but by the middle of this century, it