Definitions

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

  • adj. Lacking moral discipline or ignoring legal restraint, especially in sexual conduct.
  • adj. Having no regard for accepted rules or standards.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

  • adj. lacking moral discipline; especially sexually unrestrained

Etymologies

Latin licentiōsus, from licentia, freedom, license; see license.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin licentiōsus, from licentia ("license, freedom") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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)

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