late 14c. (harmofroditus), from Latin hermaphroditus, from Greek Hermaphroditos (Latin Hermaphroditus), son of Hermes and Aphrodite, who, in Ovid, was loved by the nymph Salmacis so ardently that she prayed for complete union with him and as a result they were united bodily, combining male and female characteristics. Also used figuratively in Middle English of "one who improperly occupies two offices." As a name for the condition, Middle English had hermofrodito (late 14c.), hermofrodisia (early 15c.). As an adjective, from c.1600.