Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom

noun
a person who obtains sexual gratification by observing others surreptitiously, especially a man who looks through windows at night.

Origin:
1910–15; allusion to the legendary man who peeped at Lady Godiva as she rode naked through Coventry

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World English Dictionary
Peeping Tom
 
n
a man who furtively observes women undressing; voyeur
 
[C19: after the tailor who, according to legend, peeped at Lady Godiva when she rode naked through Coventry]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

peeping Tom peep·ing Tom (pē'pĭng)
n.
A person who gets pleasure, especially sexual pleasure, from secretly watching others; a voyeur.

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

peeping Tom definition


One who derives pleasure, usually sexual, from secretly spying on others. (See voyeurism.)

Note: The original “peeping Tom” was a legendary resident of the town where Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets. According to the story, Tom defied official orders by looking out his window as she went by and was struck blind.
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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

peeping Tom

A person who secretly watches others, especially for sexual gratification; a voyeur. For example, The police caught a peeping Tom right outside their house. This expression, first recorded in 1796, alludes to the legend of the tailor Tom, the only person to watch the naked Lady Godiva as she rode by and who was struck blind for this sin.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

peeping tom

person who derives sexual satisfaction from watching from hiding places as others disrobe or engage in sexual acts. The term derives from the legendary Peeping Tom, a prying tailor who was struck blind (in some accounts, struck dead) for opening his window and watching Lady Godiva as she rode naked through Coventry to demonstrate against heavy taxes on the town. Though Godiva's ride supposedly took place in the 11th century and was recorded as early as the 13th, the legend of Peeping Tom was not added to the story until about the 17th century. See also voyeurism.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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