unisex

  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    One sort fits both sexes? Maybe?

    I cant access my OED from here, to check out when this first came into use, but if it was in the 60s it is probably more a result of fashion than classical etymology!
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'm not surprised you're puzzled by this one, Imladris ~ it has baffled a whole generation of folk (the first OED citation is from 1968): why should a word which logically means 'one-sex' in fact mean 'both-sexes'. I suppose (to back Suzi up) that the 'logic' behind the word is that it actually means 'this item/thing/whatever is to be considered as a one-sex item [etc.] and that both human sexes are to be considered together as one sex'.

    Don't ever let anyone tell you that language has anything to do with 'logic' ~ it is entirely to do with noise: the particular noise unisex just happens to mean 'of/for both sexes'.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Don't ever let anyone tell you that language has anything to do with 'logic' ~ it is entirely to do with noise: the particular noise unisex just happens to mean 'of/for both sexes'.
    Yes - and also the sound that the "logical" choice of a word to mean "two sexes" makes would tend to preclude its use here - I wasn't being facetious in my earlier post!:)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    You have a point, Tim ~ I feel it. Bisex(ual) actually means 'of/for/at both sexes' ... but only in (what I choose to call) 'specialized contexts':D
     

    Nymeria

    Senior Member
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    'Uni' is used to indicate that the sexes are being treated as if they are indistinguishable, as if they are one. e.g unisex bathrooms, unisex clothing.
     
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