When did the noun sex acquire its corresponding adjective and abstract noun? I would really like to know a few things about the history of these two word formations.

As far as I know, these lexical formations are unique to English. Hence their universalism.

2 Answers 2


See etymonline.com - Fill in the word sexy. For convenience I give the information: sexy 1905, from sex (n.) + -y (2). Originally "engrossed in sex;" sense of "sexually attractive" is 1923, first in reference to Valentino. An earlier word in this sense was sexful (1898). Related: Sexier; sexiest. Source: etymonline. As to etymological questions and information etymonline is the quickest and a relatively reliable dictionary.


According to the OED, neither 'sexy' nor 'sexiness' were used prior to the 20th century. The former has its first quotation dated 1896 and the latter 1920.

For suggestions as to what it was called before that, answers on a postcard please!

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