transvestite

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Latin trans- + vestite, form of vestiō (I clothe, I dress) (as in English vestment, vest). Literally, a "cross-dresser".

Noun[edit]

transvestite (plural transvestites)

  1. A person who sometimes wears clothes traditionally worn by and associated with the opposite sex; typically a male who cross-dresses occasionally by habit or compulsion.

Usage notes[edit]

This term is relatively formal (Latinate); cross-dresser is more casual, but whereas the verb cross-dress is common, the verb transvest is quite rare.

Transvestite should not be confused with transgender or transsexual (person who lives as a member of a sex different from their birth sex). Transvestites generally have less or no desire to change their sex; they simply enjoy being able to cross-dress from time to time.

The term should also not be confused with drag queen (male who wears women’s clothing for public performance); that term is specifically for performers.

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