Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Lesbian \Les"bi*an\ (l[e^]z"b[i^]*an), a.
Of or pertaining to the island anciently called Lesbos, now Mitylene, in the Grecian Archipelago.
Amatory; erotic; -- in allusion to the reputed sensuality of the Lesbian people and literature; as, Lesbian novels.
homosexual; -- applied to female homosexuals.
Lesbian \Les"bi*an\ (l[e^]z"b[i^]*an), n. a female homosexual.
Syn: dyke[vulgar, deprecatory]. [PJC]
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
1590s, "pertaining to the island of Lesbos," from Latin Lesbius, from Greek lesbios "of Lesbos," Greek 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. Her particular association in English with erotic love between women dates to at least 1825, though the words formed from it are later. 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"]\nSee also tribadism. Greek had a verb lesbiazein "to imitate the Lesbians," which implied "sexual initiative and shamelessness" among women, but not necessarily female homosexuality.
a. 1 (context of a woman English) homosexual; preferring female romantic or sexual partners. 2 (context of a romantic or sexual act or relationship English) Between two women; homosexual. 3 (context especially of an institution or group English) Intended for lesbians. n. A homosexual female, a woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to other women.
adj. of female homosexuality [syn: sapphic]
Lesbian can also mean:
- An inhabitant of Lesbos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea
- Lesbian Greek dialect, an Aeolic Greek dialect.
- Lesbian rule, a flexible mason's rule made of lead
- Lesbian wine, wine from the island of Lesbos
, a name given to three ships
- Lesbian (band), a psychedelic band from Seattle in the USA
A lesbian is a female homosexual: a female who experiences romantic love or sexual attraction to other females. The term lesbian is also used to express sexual identity or sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation, or as an adjective to characterize or associate nouns with female homosexuality or same-sex attraction.
The concept of "lesbian", to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation, is a 20th-century construct. Throughout history, women have not had the same freedom or independence to pursue homosexual relationships as men, but neither have they met the same harsh punishment as homosexual men in some societies. Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as harmless and incomparable to heterosexual ones unless the participants attempted to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men. As a result, little in history was documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality is expressed. When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about homosexuality or women's sexuality, they distinguished lesbians as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and incorrectly designated them mentally ill—a designation which has been reversed in the global scientific community.
Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of outcast and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States. Following World War II, during a period of social repression when governments actively persecuted homosexuals, women developed networks to socialize with and educate each other. Greater economic and social freedom allowed them gradually to be able to determine how they could form relationships and families. With second wave feminism and growth of scholarship in women's history and sexuality in the 20th century, the definition of lesbian broadened, sparking a debate about sexual desire as the major component to define what a lesbian is. Some women who engage in same-sex sexual activity may reject not only identifying as lesbians but as bisexual as well, while other women's self-identification as lesbian may not align with their sexual orientation or sexual behavior; sexual identity is not necessarily the same as one's sexual orientation or sexual behavior, due to various reasons, such as the fear of identifying their sexual orientation in a homophobic setting.
Portrayals of lesbians in the media suggest that society at large has been simultaneously intrigued and threatened by women who challenge feminine gender roles, and fascinated and appalled with women who are romantically involved with other women. Women who adopt a lesbian identity share experiences that form an outlook similar to an ethnic identity: as homosexuals, they are unified by the heterosexist discrimination and potential rejection they face from their families, friends, and others as a result of homophobia. As women, they face concerns separate from men. Lesbians may encounter distinct physical or mental health concerns arising from discrimination, prejudice, and minority stress. Political conditions and social attitudes also affect the formation of lesbian relationships and families in open.
Lesbian is an American heavy metal group, which was formed in April 2004 by lead guitarist Arran McInnis, guitarist Daniel La Rochelle, bassist/vocalist Dorando Hodous ( The Accüsed) and drummer Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy.
The band's 2007 debut album, Power Hor, was released on Holy Mountain Records with a sticker on the cover describing it as "The New Wave of American Psychedelic Metal". In 2008, Roadburn Records released a split 10" with Ocean on one side and Lesbian on the other, to coincide with Lesbian's appearance at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg that year. Important Records released the band's second full-length album, Stratospheria Cubensis, in October 2010, which the band describes on the label's website simply as "mushrooms in the sky with diamonds". The band has also been known to perform and release improvised works under the name Fungal Abyss.
Category:American heavy metal musical groups
Usage examples of "lesbian".
Ada is accompanied by Cordula de Prey, whom Van suspects of being the lesbian lover Ada had hinted at.
Van to wonder whether Cordula might be the lesbian lover Ada had implied when farewelling Van at Forest Fork.
The Arc de Triomphe falls with a ripping, splintering crash, reveals the Lesbian standing on a pedestal clad only in a leopard-skin jockstrap with enormous falsie basket.
It featured lesbian nuns of Spanish origin who were starting up a gladiola farm just outside Tel Aviv.
I continued doing political events for Al Gore and the Democrats, including two with gay activists who were strongly supportive of both Al and me because of the substantial number of openly gay and lesbian citizens serving in the administration, and because of our strong support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and the hate crimes bill, which made crimes committed against people because of their race, disability, or sexual orientation a federal offense.
NLGJA recently put out a stylebook to help journalists cover gay and lesbian issues.
The rest were mostly scenes of tribadism and of lesbian love, and interspersed with them were a few representing flagellation by a girl on a girl, both being stark naked!
There was now no possible doubt that Connie had surrendered herself to the pleasures of tribadism and lesbian love as far as Alice was concerned.
Nowadays its hundred or so blocks were the bright and lively haunt of alcoholics, agnostics, artists, atheists, beggars, cutthroats, deserters, drug dealers, evangelists, footpads, gentry, heathens, informers, jays, knife grinders, lesbians, libertines, mollyboys, musicians, navvies, ostlers, physicians, queers, recruiters, reformers, sailors, socialists, trulls, users, vagabonds, watchmakers, xenophiles, and yuppies.
The secret of the Lesbians was only employed, however, by the abbes and the castrata.
It is one of the Lesbian dreads, I suppose: some wretched man may come sneaking into Paradise, with troubling insinuation.
There are four or five bars a nervous square might relax in, but one is a Lesbian place, another is a hangout for brutal-looking leather fetishists and the others are old neighborhood taverns full of brooding middle-aged drunks.
It was impossible to be involved in lesbian issues and not come into contact with some self-proclaimed priestess, a political witch or two, or even the more grounded but at the same time hazier currents of rebellion against patriarchal Christianity embodied by Women-Church.
Like them, we are bombarded by decadence and false causes in the headlines every day: we hear about racial profiling, gay and lesbian rights, racism and feminism, abortion rights and animal rights and guns and the environment, as if there were no other issues in this country, or in the universe, for that matter.
There were lesbian customers who dreamed of women with penises, not male penises but womanly erections, possessing a sensitivity and aliveness no dildo ever had.