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n. pl. nym·pho·lep·sies
1. A frenzy supposed by ancient peoples to have been induced by nymphs.
2. An emotional frenzy.

[From nympholept.]

nym′pho·lep′tic (-lĕp′tĭk) adj.


n, pl -sies
(Psychiatry) a state of violent emotion, esp when associated with a desire for something one cannot have
[C18: from nympholept, on the model of epilepsy]
ˌnymphoˈleptic adj


1. an ecstatic variety of demonic possession believed by the ancients to be inspired by nymphs.
2. a frenzy of emotion, as for something unattainable. — nympholeptic, adj.
See also: Demons
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.nympholepsy - a frenzy of emotion; as for something unattainable
delirium, frenzy, hysteria, craze, fury - state of violent mental agitation
References in periodicals archive ?
According to Babbitt (1919: 306), the Rousseauist looks for happiness simultaneously in the "free play of the emotions"/"free play of feeling" and--which is most important--in the "free play of the imagination." In this process of collaboration with the imagination, feeling acquires "a sort of infinitude," which is why the romantic is in search of "the thrill superlative"--as can well be observed from the romantic "nympholepsy": the quest for the "impossible" woman, the "pursuit of the impossible she."
Replying to John Ruskin, who had criticized her using the word nympholepsy, EBB defends herself against recurring charges of obscurity and invention, attributing "a good deal of what is called in me careless & awkward expression" to "the desire of speaking or spluttering the real truth out broadly" and to her refusal to address a more general audience ("the 'stupidest person of my acquaintance'").
So Sand flew to other men, who were also cold in the end, and this flight in an attempt to find affection ended in nympholepsy, or the yearning for the unattainable ideal that she was writing about in her novels.
Perception is a form of play that substitutes immediacy and simultaneity for temporal duration: this presumed transparency of objects and objectives will ultimately legitimize Humbert's practice of nympholepsy as a form of self-proclaimed artistry, a magical "game" all his own.