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The word Homosexual (meaning sexually or romantically attached to members of the same sex) is a combination of Greek and Latin roots; the Greek element, ὁμός (homos) means "the same" and is not connected with the Latin "homo" meaning "man". The term was invented by the Hungarian writer Károly Mária Kertbeny, in a letter to the German sexologist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in 1868.[1] The terms homosexual and heterosexual came into use among scientists after Richard von Krafft-Ebing used then in his book Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), but were probably unknown to the general public until after the First World War.[2]

Before the word "homosexual" came into use, the most common terms included "invert".


  1. http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/kertbeny_km.html article on "Kertbeny, Károly Mária (1824-1882) " in the GLBTQ online encyclopedia.
  2. Alkarim Jivani, It's not unusual, page 13