epicene

To be epicene is to be androgynous, or projecting characteristics of both sexes. For both men and women, it is a melding of the two into an ambiguous sexual identity.

The roots of epicene derive from the Greek epikoinos meant "common to many," and later the Latin epicoenus, meaning "of both genders." Both lay the groundwork for the word, which refers to displaying characteristics of both genders. T.S. Eliot once wrote, "Along the garden-wall the bees/With hairy bellies pass between/The staminate and pistillate/Blest office of the epicene," referring in this poem to the shared sexual characteristics in a single flower as epicene — an apt example of the word.

Definitions of epicene
1

adj having an ambiguous sexual identity

Synonyms:
bisexual
androgynous
having both male and female characteristics

adj having unsuitable feminine qualities

Synonyms:
cissy, effeminate, emasculate, sissified, sissy, sissyish
unmanful, unmanlike, unmanly
not possessing qualities befitting a man

n one having both male and female sexual characteristics and organs; at birth an unambiguous assignment of male or female cannot be made

Synonyms:
androgyne, epicene person, gynandromorph, hermaphrodite, intersex
Type of:
bisexual, bisexual person
a person who is sexually attracted to both sexes

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.