Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


noun [countable]

a heterosexual male with a strong interest in fashion, appearance and other lifestyle characteristics traditionally associated with women




noun [uncountable]

'A metrosexual, according to New York's finest marketing men, is "a guy who is definitely straight, but has embraced the worlds of grooming facials, shopping with women and … their feminine side".'

The Guardian 16th July 2003

'Wild-haired revolutionaries like Che Guevara have been replaced by clean-cut metrosexual icons like soccer star David Beckham, musician Ricky Martin and Texas Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez. … Metrosexuality … refers to urban, heterosexual men who wax, exfoliate and perform other grooming rituals some consider strictly feminine.'

cbsnews.com 25th November 2003

sociologists have associated it with the concept of an insecure 21st-century male who has witnessed the rise of female power in the workplace

The term metrosexual was one of the buzzwords of 2003, voted 'Word of the Year' by the American Dialect Society and listed in the UK BBCi news glossary of 2003. The word can be used both as a countable noun or an adjective, and refers to a man who, regardless of his sexual orientation, has a strong interest in fashion, beauty and his own personal appearance, the kind of values that are traditionally characterized as female attributes or associated with gay men. The term has an uncountable noun derivative metrosexuality.

Though initially mainly promoted by male style magazines such as Esquire and FHM, the concept has been popularized by intense media interest in celebrity icons like footballer David Beckham, who has epitomized the notion of metrosexuality during the past couple of years and secured the use of the term in the context of a booming health and beauty industry. The term has been the subject of some controversy, sceptics viewing it as yet another marketing ploy. However, sociologists have associated it with the concept of an insecure 21st-century male who has witnessed the rise of female power in the workplace; a man who needs to assert his position in a society which focuses on gender-equality.

Background – metrosexual

The terms metrosexual and metrosexuality were first used in 1994 by British journalist Mark Simpson. They are derived from a play on the word heterosexual with the prefix metro-, from metropolis or 'city', the idea being that the typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend who lives close to all the best shops, clubs, salons and gyms, where he can pay careful attention to grooming.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 12th March 2004.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog