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

  • n. A frenzy supposed by ancient peoples to have been induced by nymphs.
  • n. An emotional frenzy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A frenzied state of (usually erotic) emotion, especially concerning something or someone unattainable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A species of demoniac enthusiasm or possession coming upon one who had accidentally looked upon a nymph; ecstasy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An ecstasy; a divine frenzy.

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

  • n. a frenzy of emotion; as for something unattainable


From nympholept.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
nympho- + -lepsy (Wiktionary)


  • A terrible malady is she, a malady the ancients knew of and called nympholepsy -- a beautiful name evocative and symbolic of its ideal aspect,

    Confessions of a Young Man

  • The word we want is "nympholepsy", which doesn't quite mean what you think it means.

    The Guardian World News

  • London, 1821, entitled _Two Pairs of Historical Portraits_, in which an attempt is made to trace a minute resemblance between the characters and careers of Rienzi and the First Napoleon.)] [494] {415} [The word "nympholepsy" may be paraphrased as "ecstatic vision."

    The Works of Lord Byron. Vol. 2

  • It is this repetition—not the nympholepsy itself, but the endless recurrence of its self-imprisoning instants—that eventually dooms and destroys Humbert.

    Archive 2009-10-01

  • The seduction of Lolita exists in discrete moments that are sufficient in themselves to constitute the heaven and hell of nympholepsy.

    Archive 2009-10-01

  • Here he is, at last, an admitted pedophile—no longer “an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy,” who seeks to fancy up his crime by calling it nympholepsy instead.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • How often have _we_ -- martyrs to a hopeless nympholepsy -- strayed through that piazza, at the self same hour -- there deemed that the heart would break -- but never thought that it might slowly wither.

    A Love Story

  • When the show was over he abandoned Miss Clampett on her door-step and went to his own boarding-house in a nympholepsy.

    We Can't Have Everything

  • But he was busy with his new story, in the throes of nympholepsy, seeing visions, hearing voices.

    We Can't Have Everything

  • De Quincey has done so in prose, for instance, and Lord Byron talks of 'The nympholepsy of a fond despair,' though he never was accused of being overridden by his Greek.

    The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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