Did you know?

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


noun [countable]

a heterosexual male who is both confident and compassionate and has a strong interest in good causes and principles




noun [uncountable]

'Stand aside oily womanizers and clueless wimps and make way for the passionate ubersexual man of the future. … Ubersexuals are the most attractive (not just physically), most dynamic, and most compelling men of their generations …'

CanWest News Service 17th October 2005

Move over the metrosexual, it's time to usher in the ubersexual! In 2003, the ideal man was someone in touch with his feminine side. In 2005, the ideal man is all about ruggedness, confidence, masculinity and having an unselfish passion for causes and principles. This is the year of the ubersexual.

Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2, has recently been hailed the ultimate ubersexual, rugged in appearance but confident and passionate about his beliefs

Whilst in recent years celebrity footballer David Beckham has been viewed as a metrosexual icon, a type of male with a strong interest in fashion and personal appearance, Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2, has recently been hailed the ultimate ubersexual, rugged in appearance but confident and passionate about his beliefs. Other prime examples of the ubersexual genre are actors George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, former US president Bill Clinton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor turned politician.

Advertising company J. Walter Thompson, the original promoters of the term, pinpoint various criteria by which metrosexuals and ubersexuals can be distinguished. These include propositions such as:

'while the ubersexual is passionate about causes and principles, the metrosexual is only passionate about himself', and 'while the ubersexual grooms his mind, the metrosexual grooms his hair'

Like metrosexual before it, the word ubersexual can be used both as a countable noun or an adjective. There's also some evidence for an uncountable noun derivative ubersexuality.

Background – ubersexual and ubersexuality

The term ubersexual was coined by Marian Salzman, a US trendspotter and executive at the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. The term features in Salzman's new book, The Future of Men (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), which praises a new brand of male who mixes strength and confidence with a willingness to communicate and cooperate. This, Salzman claims, lies in stark contrast to the metrosexual, whose preoccupation with appearance, while at first appealing to women, turned out to be 'thinly veiled narcissism (= a selfish interest in your own life and problems)'.

Ubersexual is of course inspired by the term metrosexual and the recent obsession with male stereotyping which also spawned the descriptions retrosexual and technosexual. Technosexual refers to a metrosexual with a strong interest in technology. The retrosexual is in some sense the forerunner of the ubersexual, the classically average male who represents the antithesis of the metrosexual.

The prefix uber- is from the German word über, which actually means 'over', 'above' or 'about', but in recent years has been used productively in English to mean 'superior' or 'ultra'. Recent examples include ubersuccessful, uberrich, and ubermodern.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 31st October 2005.

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