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‘Emasculate’ or ‘Demasculate’: What’s the Difference?

Shaun Connell
August 8, 2023

Are you wondering which is correct, 'emasculate' or 'demasculate?'

Here is a quick answer: 

  • 'Emasculate' is a verb that means to weaken or castrate. 
  • 'Demasculate' is a misspelling and not an English word.

Learn more about the term and why people often confuse the spelling in this guide with the definition, pronunciation, and examples of 'emasculate.'

What's the Difference Between 'Emasculate' or 'Demasculate?'

The most significant difference between 'emasculate' or 'demasculate' is that the first is an actual English term, while the second is a misspelling. People confuse the spelling because many words that mean the opposite of the base word use the prefix de-. 

Some examples include:

  • Deconstruct
  • Demote
  • Deactivate
  • Deviate
  • Detox
  • Dehumidify

However, in the case of 'emasculate,' the word uses the e- prefix. The e- and ex- prefixes mean out or thoroughly. Since the definition of emasculate is to deprive of strength or take out masculinity, the word begins with e, like:

  • Evade - Get away from or avoid
  • Exit - A way out or an escape
  • Exume - To dig out the ground around a fossil or remove it from its place of burial
  • Excavate - Remove dirt carefully to uncover or find buried remains
  • Eject - Force or throw something out
  • Emit - Produce and discharge a chemical, smell, or radiation

Definition of 'Emasculate': What Does 'Emasculate' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'emasculate' as a verb that means:

  • To weaken or deprive of strength, spirit, or vigor

It can also mean:

  • To castrate or remove the ability to recreate
  • During artificial cross-pollination, the act of removing the flower

Synonyms of Emasculate

  • Weaken
  • Intimidate
  • Scare
  • Frighten
  • Demoralize
  • Neuter
  • Unman
  • Debilitate
  • Undo
  • Dishearten

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Emasculate'

Whether you are an aspiring freelance writer or an experienced speech writer, learning the pronunciation of words like 'emasculate' can help you gain confidence when communicating verbally or in written communication.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can follow. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'emasculate':


When and How to Use 'Emasculate'

You know that between the terms 'emasculate' or 'demasculate,' only the former is an actual English term, and we've looked at the literal meaning of 'emasculate.' However, most people who use this term today use it metaphorically. So, let's look at when and how to use 'emasculate.'

  • Use 'emasculate' metaphorically, saying that someone makes another person feel less like a man.

For example, you could say:

She emasculated her son when she yelled at him, saying, 'You aren't a man. You can't even take care of yourself.' 

  • Use 'emasculate' in the literal sense when you are writing about someone or something that is castrated.

As an example, I might say:

I felt terrible when we emasculated our dog, but I knew it was for the best. He kept trying to get out to run around with the female dogs in the neighborhood.

  • Use 'emasculate' to describe a man who feels less of a man due to the actions of another person.

So, you could say:

The star football player seemed to carry the rest of the team to the playoffs single-handedly, which emasculated some of the other football players. 

  • Use 'emasculate' to refer to any act that effectively removes a man's ability to engage in sexual activity.

For example, you might say:

The lawmaker proposed a bill allowing the state to emasculate sexual offenders through chemical castration. 

Sample Sentences Using 'Emasculate'

Now, read these sample sentences using 'emasculate.' They will help you learn different ways to use the term correctly.


  • She did not mean to emasculate the men she worked with, but most men felt inferior when they saw how easy it was for a woman to do their job.
  • The blogger wrote an article about how weak men have become, and it emasculated many of her readers.
  • As a parent, it is essential not to emasculate your sons by insulting them or making them feel incapable.
  • The author wrote an e-book on the effect emasculating men has on society. However, it did not sell as well as he had hoped because he priced it too high.
  • Emasculated men are less successful because they lack the drive and confidence to achieve greatness.
  • The best-selling book painted a graphic image of the main character being emasculated before a crowd of onlookers.
  • Watching the boys emasculate the more petite boy was heartbreaking. He already felt bad because he was shorter than his peers.
  • If you have been struggling to find a high-paying writing job, there is no reason to feel emasculated. You need to keep trying.
  • Game of Thrones fans were shocked and saddened when Ramsay Snow emasculated Theon Greyjoy in a weird scene.
  • Having a female boss is no reason for men to feel emasculated, but some men feel like less of a man when they have to work under a woman.
  • You need to emasculate that dog. It keeps getting out and trying to mate with the female dogs in the neighborhood.

Recap: 'Emasculate' or 'Demasculate'

Before you go, let's recap what you learned about the difference between 'emasculate' or 'demasculate': 

  • 'Emasculate' is a verb that means to remove vigor, spirit, or masculinity or to castrate or remove the male genitals. 
  • 'Demasculate' is a common misspelling of the above term, but it is not an English word. 

There are some English words that are more challenging for writers to remember. However, as a writer, it is important to use words accurately because it helps you build trust with your audience and position yourself as a subject matter expert.

Misusing words makes your readers question your ability to provide accurate information on a topic. So, if you question the accuracy of a term, it is always best to verify its meaning.

After reading this post, you should remember that 'emasculate' is the accurate term. However, you can always come back to this lesson for a quick review if you forget which version is correct.

You can also learn about other words that frequently stump writers in the grammar section here and stay current on the latest industry changes and best practices by reading our guides for writers.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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