Definition of eunuch in US English:

eunuch

noun

  • 1A man who has been castrated, especially (in the past) one employed to guard the women's living areas at an oriental court.

    • ‘All bars should be forced to employ eunuchs as waitresses.’
    • ‘It's like a man who celebrates the day of his castration, as a eunuch.’
    • ‘Then at 18 she met a group of eunuchs - castrated men who dressed as women and sang and danced for a living.’
    • ‘He alone would have been carried across the immense first courtyard - 200m long by 190m wide - in a palanquin on the shoulders of eunuchs, guarded by the thousands of soldiers who manned the red walls.’
    • ‘The Emperor of China would employ eunuchs, castrated men, as guards and servants in his Palace.’
    • ‘As the traditional sense of the word seems to imply, not every person referred to as a eunuch was necessarily castrated.’
    • ‘The staff, culled from the same gene pool that serves the lower Main, is comprised of attractive, slow-blinking women and efficient eunuchs, soft-voiced males in tight black turtlenecks.’
    • ‘Indians believe that one becomes a eunuch through past demons while at the same time eunuchs (hijras in India) claim to be descendants of the goddess Mata and historically had a revered place in religious rites and government positions.’
    • ‘Ostracized by society and living in ghettos, eunuchs, popularly known as ‘hijras’ have nowhere to go but their own peers for shelter and succour.’
    • ‘He even occasionally allows his reader a salacious glimpse of his many and various belle-lettrist exchanges with flatterers, botherers, court eunuchs, visiting dignitaries and so on.’
    • ‘In the first reading Philip runs alongside the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the queen.’
    • ‘Only in the domestic sphere did they remain predominant, and the top of that pyramid was now occupied by the court eunuchs.’
    • ‘The arts, of which the little lion dogs were considered a part, were entrusted to the palace courts' eunuchs and women, who competed to outdo each other in creating the most beautiful dog in order to gain the special favor of the emperors.’
    • ‘The only men allowed to serve women in their private quarters were either eunuchs or men who lacked a sexual drive towards women.’
    • ‘They were not always popular: an 18th-century Prussian soldier compared his NCOs to oriental eunuchs, polite to their superiors but taking out their frustrations on their subordinates.’
    • ‘Another group who owed their existence in the Capital Region solely to the presence of the imperial court in Beijing were eunuchs.’
    • ‘In this case it will be interesting to see if the unions can act as anything more than the castrated eunuchs that they are.’
    • ‘While the eunuchs danced, men held money over the heads of people they wanted to honour.’
    • ‘I always felt a bit like a court eunuch when I was around him.’
    • ‘In the chain of the covenantal family, the foreigner has no past and the eunuch no future.’
    1. 1.1 An ineffectual person.
      ‘a nation of political eunuchs’
      • ‘And he ensured that he surrounded himself with political eunuchs.’
      • ‘This expression would render us both socially unique and a political eunuch.’
      • ‘The House of Commons, inundated by a quota system guaranteed to promote mediocrity, had become a government harem populated by political eunuchs.’
      • ‘Failing to have prosecuted Labour over these scandals would probably have relegated ACT to United Future or Progressive levels of influence - political eunuchs.’
      • ‘Public choice, as an inclusive research programme, incorporates the presumption that persons do not readily become economic eunuchs as they shift from market to political participation.’
      • ‘If I have to read one more whining twenty-something eunuch complain about how politics just isn't relevant to his/her life, I'm gonna be sick.’
      • ‘People expect a political scientist to be objective, some kind of political eunuch.’
      • ‘Therefore I'm currently enjoying the status of a political eunuch.’

Origin

Old English, via Latin eunuchus from Greek eunoukhos, literally ‘bedroom guard’, from eunē ‘bed’ + a second element related to ekhein ‘to hold’.

Pronunciation

eunuch

/ˈjunək//ˈyo͞onək/