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

  • adjective Lacking moral restraint, especially in sexual conduct.
  • adjective Archaic Ignoring accepted rules or standards, as of prescriptive grammar.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Characterized by or using license; marked by or indulging too great freedom; overpassing due bounds or limits; excessive.
  • Specifically Unrestrained by law, religion, or morality; wanton; loose; dissolute; libidinous: as, a licentions person; licentious desires.
  • Synonyms Profligate, dissolute, debauched. See list under lascivious.

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

  • adjective Characterized by license; passing due bounds; excessive; abusive of freedom; wantonly offensive.
  • adjective Unrestrained by law or morality; lawless; immoral; dissolute; lewd; lascivious

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

  • adjective Lacking restraint, or ignoring societal standards, particularly in sexual conduct.
  • adjective Disregarding accepted rules.

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

  • adjective lacking moral discipline; especially sexually unrestrained


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

[Latin licentiōsus, from licentia, freedom, license; see license.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin licentiōsus, from licentia ("license, freedom")


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  • The only expedient which could prevent their separation was boldly agitated and approved the popular resentment was insensibly moulded into a regular conspiracy; their just reasons of complaint were heightened by passion, and their passions were inflamed by wine; as, on the eve of their departure, the troops were indulged in licentious festivity.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1206

  • The matrons and virgins of Babylon freely mingled with the men in licentious banquets; and as they felt the intoxication of wine and love, they gradually, and almost completely, threw aside the encumbrance of dress; ad ultimum ima corporum velamenta projiciunt.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1206

  • The gradual redefinition of freedom, away from the notion of responsible civic freedom and toward the notion of licentious personal liberty, both contributes to and is reinforced by ongoing trends in mass media.

    Out of Control Zbigniew Brzezinski 1993

  • But they ever retained the inveterate vanity of their country: their praise, or at least their esteem, was reserved for the national writers, to whom they owed their fame and subsistence; and they sometimes betrayed their contempt in licentious criticism or satire on Virgil’s poetry, and the oratory of Tully.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1206

  • Just as Wagner's dramas have been called licentious, so his character has been described as sensual, in defiance of easily ascertainable facts.

    Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde"; an essay on the Wagnerian drama George Ainslie Hight

  • She quotes a “wonderfully just” passage from Milton, calls a licentious speech from Dryden's “State of Innocence” an “odious thing,” and says

    The Life and Romances of Mrs Eliza Haywood Whicher, George Frisbie 1915

  • There is (barring a possible double meaning or two) nothing of the kind generally known as licentious; it is the merely foul and dirty language of common folk at all times, introduced, not with humorous extravagance in the

    A History of Elizabethan Literature George Saintsbury 1889

  • Freedom, as present in our current society, represents the wide range from any kind of licentious but licit behaviour through the practical freedoms of the press and media up to the philosophical freedoms of religion and thought.

    Democracy - Part I - "people power" usurped by elites. 2009

  • Greek grammarians connect its name with aselges, which means "licentious"; some think the first letter of the word a negative particle, but others find in it a meaning of reinforcement.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 13: Revelation-Stock 1840-1916 1913

  • He anticipated meagre results from a literary propaganda among the broad Jewish masses, in which the mere reading of such "licentious" books was considered a criminal offence.

    History of the Jews in Russia and Poland. Volume II From the death of Alexander I. until the death of Alexander III. (1825-1894) I. [Translator] Friedlaender 1900


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  • licentious living

    January 2, 2011