Encyclopedia > Gender

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The word gender is derived from the Old French word genre, meaning "kind of thing". It has several meanings in modern usage:

  • Gender is commonly used as a synonym for sex, refering to males and females classified according to genetic differences and distinct primary and secondary sex characteristics. This usage is considered incorrect by some.

  • Social scientists use gender to refer to a particular social identity, status, and cluster of roles, that are often (but not exclusively) assigned on the basis of sex. See gender identity, gender role.

  • Situations sometimes arise where sex or gender may be mimicked by inanimate objects, notably in cable connectors that have "male" and "female" counterparts. For an example in this context see gender changer.

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