Lesbian

Lesbian

[lez-bee-uhn]
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to Lesbos.
2.
(usually lowercase) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of female homosexuality.
3.
(usually lowercase) erotic; sensual.
noun
4.
an inhabitant of Lesbos.
5.
(usually lowercase) a female homosexual.

Origin:
1595–1605; < Latin Lesbi(us) Lesbian (< Greek Lésbios, equivalent to Lésb(os) Lesbos + -ios adj. suffix) + -an; (defs 2, 5) alluding to the poet Sappho of Lesbos, whose verse deals largely with her emotional relationships with other women

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
lesbian (ˈlɛzbɪən)
 
n
1.  a female homosexual
 
adj
2.  of or characteristic of lesbians
 
[C19: from the homosexuality attributed to Sappho]
 
'lesbianism
 
n

Lesbian (ˈlɛzbɪən)
 
n
1.  a native or inhabitant of Lesbos
2.  the Aeolic dialect of Ancient Greek spoken in Lesbos
 
adj
3.  of or relating to Lesbos
4.  of or relating to the poetry of Lesbos, esp that of Sappho

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

lesbian
1590s, "pertaining to the island of Lesbos," from L. Lesbius, from Gk. lesbios "of Lesbos," Gk. island in northeastern Aegean Sea (the name originally may have meant "wooded"), home of Sappho, great lyric poet whose erotic and romantic verse embraced women as well as men, hence meaning "relating to homosexual
relations between women" (1890; lesbianism in this sense is attested from 1870) and the noun, first recorded 1925. Before this, the principal figurative use (common in 17c.) was lesbian rule (c.1600) a mason's rule of lead, of a type used on Lesbos, which could be bent to fit the curves of a molding; hence, "pliant morality or judgment."
"And this is the nature of the equitable, a correction of law where it is defective owing to its universality. ... For when the thing is indefinite the rule also is indefinite, like the leaden rule used in making the Lesbian moulding; the rule adapts itself to the shape of the stone and is not rigid, and so too the decree is adapted to the facts." [Aristotle, "Nicomachean Ethics"]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

lesbian les·bi·an (lěz'bē-ən)
n.
A gay or homosexual woman. adj.
Of, relating to, or being a lesbian.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

lesbian definition


A homosexual woman. (See also gay.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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