Printable Version
Pronunciation: læ-si-vi-ês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Lustful, lewd, wanton. 2. Eliciting or expressing carnal desire.

Notes: From an older word lascivy = lasciviousness, this word seems to have run amok, accumulating several suffixes only to return full circle semantically to its original meaning. The adverb is lasciviously and the current noun is lasciviousness. The verb is lasciviate "to behave lewdly". Avoid such behavior at all costs, but enjoy the word when criticizing others.

In Play: Here is the perfect substitute for the overworked metaphorical sense of "dirty" as in, "The lascivious jokes told by the fraternity brothers made Chastity uncomfortable all weekend." But we have to rue the unwarranted oversight of the verbal counterpart of today's word: "Our old friend, Tucker Doubt, lasciviates evenings in the red-light district of our fair city."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from the usual sources, either Middle French lascivieux or directly from Late Latin lasciviosus. The Latin word was based on lascivia "lewdness, playfulness", the noun from the synonymous adjective lascivus "lewd, playful, wanton". This adjective was inherited from PIE las-ko-, a suffixed form of las- "to be eager, wanton, or unruly", also the source of Sanskrit lasati "plays, frolics", Old Church Slavonic laska "flattery", Czech and Slovak láska "love", Russian lasyj "greedy, loving expensive things", and English lust. This English word is a cousin of German Lust "love, desire", as in Wanderlust "love of travel". Apparently, our ancestors considered sensuality just playfulness.

Dr. Goodword,

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