See also: lesbian



From Latin Lesbius (Lesbian) + adjective suffix -an, from Latin adjective suffix -anus. The sense of ‘homosexual’ is a reference to Sappho, a famous inhabitant of Lesbos and homosexual poet.


Lesbian (plural Lesbians)

  1. A native or inhabitant of Lesbos.
    Synonym: Lesviot
  2. (linguistics) The variety of Aeolic Greek spoken on Lesbos from about 800 to 300 b.c., best known from the writings of Sappho and Alcaeus of Mytilene.
  3. Alternative letter-case form of lesbian: a homosexual woman.



Lesbian (comparative more Lesbian, superlative most Lesbian)

  1. Of or pertaining to the island of Lesbos.
    • 1805, J. Griffiths, Travels in Europe, Asia Minor, and Arabia[1], London: T. Cadell, page 232:
      Within twenty-four hours of quitting the security of a Lesbian port, all the contrarieties I had experienced were to be exceeded by the horrors of a tremendous hurricane.
  2. (linguistics) Of or pertaining to the Lesbian variety of Aeolic Greek.
  3. Alternative letter-case form of lesbian: (of women) homosexual.
    • 1901, [1985] Mary MacLane in A Day at a Time, Margo Culley ed. [2]
      Except two breeds—the stupid and the narrowly feline—all women have a touch of the Lesbian: an assertion all good non-analytic creatures refute with horror, but quite true: there is always the poignant intensive personal taste, the flair of inner-sex, in the tenderest friendships of women.
    • 1984, Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider[3]:
      One woman wrote, “Because you are Black and Lesbian, you seem to speak with the moral authority of suffering.” Yes, I am Black and Lesbian, and what you hear in my voice is fury, not suffering.
    • 1989, Florence King, Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye [4]
      Suddenly open enrollment struck the Sapphic elite and dykes-for-the-masses were everywhere. We got the Lesbian detective, the Lesbian ghost, the Lesbian vampire, the possessed Lesbian, the Lesbian next door, the Lesbian with a heart of gold, the kept Lesbian, the other Lesbian, the Lesbian amnesiac, the Lesbian with cancer, and just plain Butch.
  4. (archaic) Amatory; erotic.
    Lesbian novels

Usage notesEdit

The sense "homosexual" is now usually not capitalized; see lesbian. Compare gay, which is sometimes capitalized Gay though there is no reason for it to be according to the English language's usual rules for capitalization.