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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Jouissance \Jou"is*sance\, n. [F., fr. jouir to enjoy, fr. L. gaudere to rejoice.] Jollity; merriment. [Obs.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 15c., from Old French jouissance, from jouissant, present participle of joir "to enjoy" (see enjoy).


n. (context obsolete English) enjoyment, delight, pleasure.


In French, jouissance means enjoyment, in terms both of rights and property, and of sexual orgasm — the latter has a meaning partially lacking in the English word "enjoyment".

Poststructuralism has developed the latter sense of jouissance in complex ways, so as to denote a transgressive, excessive kind of pleasure linked to the division and splitting of the subject involved.

Usage examples of "jouissance".

This leads us to chase down allusions, follow up references, and celebrate the jouissance of a supposedly pure artifice.