Origin of berdacheuncertain or unknown; perhaps via Canadian French from Middle French bardache from Italian bardascia from Arabic bardaj, slave, servitude from Persian bardah, slave, page
Origin of berdacheNorth American French from French bardache catamite from Italian dialectal bardascia from Arabic bardaj slave from Persian bardah prisoner from Middle Persian vartak from Old Iranian varta- ; see welə- in Indo-European roots.
(plural berdaches or berdache)
- (anthropology) Among Native Americans, a person who identifies with any of a variety of gender identities which are not exclusively those of their biological sex; a transgender person. [from the 1890s; peaked in commonness in the 1990s]
Considered offensive by many Native American communities because of its pejorative and non-American etymology, berdache began to fall out of use in the 1990s; two-spirit and various tribe-specific terms (wergern, etc) are now used instead.