Definitions

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

  • noun A pubescent girl regarded as sexually precocious.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A little nymph.

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

  • noun Poetic A little or young nymph.

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

  • noun A sexually attractive girl or young woman

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

  • noun a sexually attractive young woman

Etymologies

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

[From earlier nymphet, nymphette, small nymph, young nymph (applied in Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita (1955) to a pubescent girl desired by the novel's narrator) : nymph + –et.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

nymph +‎ -et (“diminutive”), attested 1612.

Examples

  • (through whose tortured glottis the word nymphet has decisively been lifted into the linguistic mainstream from the minor Jacobean rivulets of Drayton and Drummond), whose speech is effectively spoonerized by the "tender, mysterious, impure, indifferent twilight eyes" of "Haze, Dolores" (to firmly place the child where she belongs -- in a school attendance list):

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XI No 3

  • Hamlet refers to Ophelia as a nymph ( "Nymph, in thy orisons, be all my sins remembered"), but she is of marriageable age, whereas a nymphet is another thing altogether.

    Hurricane Lolita

  • Hamlet refers to Ophelia as a nymph ( "Nymph, in thy orisons, be all my sins remembered"), but she is of marriageable age, whereas a nymphet is another thing altogether.

    Hurricane Lolita

  • Hamlet refers to Ophelia as a nymph ( "Nymph, in thy orisons, be all my sins remembered"), but she is of marriageable age, whereas a nymphet is another thing altogether.

    Hurricane Lolita

  • Because in Humbert's private mythology, Dolly is the "nymphet" Lolita, a creature whose "true nature is not human, but … demoniac," a changeling without family or history, existing on an "intangible island of entranced time," where neither she nor Humbert will ever grow up.

    Lolita At 50, And Forever Young

  • And she had a crush on a teacher who would probably think she was some kind of nymphet if he knew about it.

    Outside In

  • "nymphet" to enthrall and transport across state lines.

    Histriomastix

  • The demands which Humbert makes upon Lolita, with his appalling sentimentality, cannot possibly be met by her: and the result is a bitter comedy in which the nymphet answers his passion by demand for more iced lollies or fudge sundaes.

    From the archive, 23 January 1959: Lolita and its critics

  • Lolita is his preferred nymphet, and the book is a record of his disastrous affair with her.

    From the archive, 23 January 1959: Lolita and its critics

  • I don't think I've seen the cover of any recent magazine aimed at youth that did not involve a scantily clad nymphet staring at the camera, all wide-eyed and pouty-lipped, as if to say, Gee, this is all I know how to do.

    A Conversation with Libba Bray about A Great and Terrible Beauty

Comments

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  • from The Crying of Lot 49 ... clearly a nod to Nabokov

    December 3, 2006