Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A woman whose sexual orientation is to women.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or being a lesbian.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or pertaining to the island of Lesbos in the Ægean sea, which belonged in ancient times, together with the adjoining part of the coast of Asia Minor, to the district called Æolis, and was the home of a famous school of lyric poets, including Alcæus, Sappho, and others.
  • noun A native or an inhabitant of Lesbos.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun a female homosexual.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the island anciently called Lesbos, now Mitylene, in the Grecian Archipelago.
  • adjective archaic Amatory; erotic; -- in allusion to the reputed sensuality of the Lesbian people and literature.
  • adjective homosexual; -- applied to female homosexuals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of a woman Homosexual; preferring female romantic or sexual partners.
  • adjective Homosexual, specifically between two women.
  • adjective Intended for lesbians.
  • noun A homosexual female, a woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to other women.

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

  • noun a female homosexual
  • noun a resident of Lesbos
  • adjective of or relating to or characterized by homosexual relations between woman

Etymologies

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

[After Lesbos, home of Sappho, known for her homoerotic poetry.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin Lesbiana, from Ancient Greek Λέσβος (Lesbos) + Latin adjective suffix -iana; by reference to Sappho of Lesbos (whence also sapphist), known for her sentimental poems about women.

Examples

  • His uncle gave him some silver and a letter of introduction, and sent him off to visit the philosopher Pherecydes, on the nearby island of Lesbos, the island from which the term lesbian is derived.

    Euclid’s Window

  • His uncle gave him some silver and a letter of introduction, and sent him off to visit the philosopher Pherecydes, on the nearby island of Lesbos, the island from which the term lesbian is derived.

    Euclid’s Window

  • His uncle gave him some silver and a letter of introduction, and sent him off to visit the philosopher Pherecydes, on the nearby island of Lesbos, the island from which the term lesbian is derived.

    Euclid’s Window

  • This was a jarring moment; the word lesbian had never been used before in a presidential debate.

    COURAGE AND CONSEQUENCE

  • This was a jarring moment; the word lesbian had never been used before in a presidential debate.

    COURAGE AND CONSEQUENCE

  • Three residents of Lesbos, the birthplace of the ancient Greek poet Sappho, whose love poems inspired the term lesbian, filed suit last month, contending that their identity was insulted by the use of the word in reference to gay women, but the court said that the word didn't define the identity of Lesbos residents, and so could be used legitimately by gay groups in Greece and abroad.

    Housing and Budgets

  • A: The term "lesbian" might be on the endangered species list now, but it has always had significance for me.

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • I think one of the most frustrating things about being a lesbian in our society is that the term lesbian is synonymous with porn.

    AfterEllen.com - Because visibility matters

  • All you saw was the word 'lesbian', and you ran for the hills.

    John Shore: A Christian Comes Out In a Letter, For Worse And For Better

  • All you saw was the word 'lesbian', and you ran for the hills.

    John Shore: A Christian Comes Out In a Letter, For Worse And For Better

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