Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Unrestrained by morality.
  • adj. Recklessly abandoned to sensual pleasures.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. With nerves unstrung; weak.
  • adj. Loosed from restraint; esp., loose in morals and conduct; recklessly abandoned to sensual pleasures; profligate; wanton; lewd; debauched.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Loose; relaxed; enfeebled.
  • Loose in behavior and morals; not under the restraints of law; given to vice and dissipation; vicious; wanton; lewd: as, a dissolute man; dissolute company.
  • Characterized by dissoluteness; devoted to pleasure and dissipation: as, a dissolute life.
  • Synonyms and Immoral, Depraved, etc. (see criminal), uncurbed, unbridled, disorderly, wild, rakish, lax, licentious, profligate, abandoned, reprobate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. unrestrained by convention or morality

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin dissolūtus, past participle of dissolvere, to dissolve; see dissolve.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • And above all things, here is a living presentment of a beautiful woman, pure in dissolute days, passing quiet hours of domestic life amongst her own family, where we may all visit her and hear her voice, even in the very tones in which she spoke to her lover.

    Letters from Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple (1652-54)

  • As in dissolute Corinth to "company with no fornicators," &c., would be almost to company with none in the (unbelieving) world; ye need not utterly ( "altogether") forego intercourse with fornicators, &c., of the unbelieving world (compare 1Co 10: 27; Joh 17: 15; 1Jo 5: 18, 19).

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • In this it is fautye to come to the kynd that is nye vnto it, whyche is called dissolute, because it waueth hyther and thyther, as it were wythout senowes and ioyntes, standyng surely in no poynte.

    A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes

  • There is no excuse for me, as I did know that I was leading what might be fairly and justly called a dissolute life: I do not mean to admit that there was any thing which is generally termed criminal in my conduct, but I must say, if I tell the truth, which I am determined to do at all hazards, that

    Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. — Volume 1

  • VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has finally made peace with the Beatles, saying their drug use, "dissolute" lives and even the claim that the band was bigger than Jesus are all in the past – while their music lives on.

    Vatican Makes Peace With The Beatles, John Lennon's Jesus Comment

  • And here, since he had so valiantly forborne all other wickedness, poor Mr. Dimmesdale longed at least to shake hands with the tarry black-guard, and recreate himself with a few improper jests, such as dissolute sailors so abound with, and a volley of good, round, solid, satisfactory, and heaven-defying oaths!

    The Scarlet Letter

  • This scene of revelry is not a little heightened by the profuse use of ardent spirits, which has so powerful an attraction, that drummers, flute-players, bards, and singing men come from great distances to partake of the libations; and as the savage uproar lasts often for a week, it leads to every kind of dissolute practice in both sexes.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 275, September 29, 1827

  • And here, since he had so valiantly forborne all other wickedness, poor Mr. Dimmesdale longed at least to shake hands with the tarry blackguard, and recreate himself with a few improper jests, such as dissolute sailors so abound with, and a volley of good, round, solid, satisfactory, and heaven-defying oaths!

    XX. The Minister in a Maze

  • They find on the contrary that some of it is what Plato calls "dissolute," i.e. dissolving or relaxing the fibres of the will, like certain Russian dance-music.

    A Study of Poetry

  • In the later poem he adopts strict practices with regard to elision, which, with some trifling exceptions, he permits only in the case of contiguous open vowels, and of short unstressed vowels separated by a liquid consonant, in such words, for instance, as "dissolute," or

    Milton

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