I'm confused why homosexual is used to refer to gay people. From my understanding homo means human? As in homosapien.

Also is there a term like misandry specifically for gay men?

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    @JohnClifford Homo means "man" in Latin and "same" in Greek. It's the Latin root the one in Homo Sapiens and the Greek one in homosexual. Sapiens means "wise" (consider Italian sapere Spanish saber or French savoir, to know)
    – Yay
    Mar 2, 2016 at 17:21
  • @JohnClifford Seems like an answer to me. Mar 2, 2016 at 17:23
  • Handy to know, thanks for the clarification. @DJClayworth I originally didn't post as an answer because I had nothing for the second point, but when I thought of something I started posting it as an answer before Yay corrected me on a couple of points. I'm posting as an answer with Yay's corrections now. Mar 2, 2016 at 17:23
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    As to the term for 'hatred of gay men' - homophobia is of course most often used to mean this, but strictly speaking it doesn't specifically refer to men. Women who are lesbians are homosexual, and homophobia is expressed against them too. But we should have fewer words for hatred, of course, and many more for love.
    – Charl E
    Mar 2, 2016 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


Homo means "man" in Latin and "same" in Greek. The former is used in homo sapiens as referring to our species and translates to "wise person", while the Greek is used in homosexual.

The reason homosexual is used to refer to gay people is because it means

Sexually attracted to the same (sex/gender)

Heterosexual, its opposite, means

Sexually attracted to the other

if you translate it literally.

I'm not aware of any gay-specific term for misandry. I think if you wanted to denote a more specific hatred for gay men you'd just use the term homophobia instead.

(Thanks to Yay for corrections regarding the meanings of homo and sapiens, as well as the difference between the Latin and Greek meanings)

  • "homosexual is used to refer to gay people" is incorrect because gay has other meanings which were much more prominent until recently. "gay is used to refer to homosexual" is more like it.
    – A.S.
    Mar 2, 2016 at 17:44
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    That's nitpicking to the extreme, @A.S. XD I don't think anyone's going to mistakenly think I meant homosexual was used to refer to happy individuals. ;) Mar 2, 2016 at 18:19
  • My attempt at justification distracted from the main point that gay is an euphemism for (and derivative of) homosexual. You wouldn't say that "because is used to refer to coz" or "black is used to refer to African-American", would you? (Couldn't find an example where the latter word also contains linguistic ambiguity which only strengthens the point of cause/effect). Homosexual is unambiguous and precise. Gay is ambiguous and vague.
    – A.S.
    Mar 2, 2016 at 18:27
  • I wouldn't, but I was using the OP's own wording to answer his question. It's not that you didn't have a perfectly valid point, it's just that I didn't think it was vital enough a calamity to edit the answer. (though if you haven't already upvoted it and that's the difference between me getting your meaningless internet points or continuing to languish in the limbo before 2k rep, I will :P) Mar 2, 2016 at 18:29
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    There is a wonderful bit in Tom Stoppard's play The Invention of Love in which the gay poet & classical scholar A. E. Housman is present for the introduction of homosexual as an English word in 1897, and he rather shudders at it for being a bastard coinage, its former part being Greek and its latter part Latin. Mar 2, 2016 at 20:09

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