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Of or relating to lesbianism.

[After Sappho, known for her homoerotic poetry.]

sap′phism (săf′ĭz′əm) adj.
sap′phist n. & adj.


1. Of or relating to the Greek poet Sappho.
a. Of, relating to, or being a verse characteristic of Sappho, containing 11 syllables and consisting of a trochee, a spondee or trochee, a dactyl, a trochee, and a spondee or trochee.
b. Relating to or being a stanza of three such verses followed by a verse consisting of a dactyl followed by a spondee or trochee.
c. Relating to or being an ode made up of such stanzas.
d. Of, relating to, or being a verse, stanza, or poem in accentual-syllabic meter composed in imitation of Sapphic quantitative verse.
A Sapphic meter, verse, stanza, or ode.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


a less common word for lesbianism. See lesbianism
[C19: after Sappho, who is believed to have been a lesbian]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈsæf ɪz əm)

female homosexuality.
sap′phist, n.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sapphism - female homosexualitysapphism - female homosexuality      
gayness, homoeroticism, homosexualism, homosexuality, queerness - a sexual attraction to (or sexual relations with) persons of the same sex
tribadism - a form of lesbianism that simulates heterosexual intercourse
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Their suspected sapphism made the couple the target of attacks, true--but it also served as an inspiration for many self-avowed female lovers of their own sex, both in the lifetime of the Ladies of Llangollen and in the centuries since.
[and] suggests that sapphism, though unspeakable, may also be desired" (Lanser 10).
11, Pamela Dunbar describes sapphism as 'a modish nineties narcissism'.
Using a detailed investigation of the obscenity trial as the first chapter in her book Fashioning Sapphism, Laura Doan asserts that
The publication of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, which he originally intended to title Les Lesbiennes, is the starting point for Myriam Robic's comprehensive study of sapphism in French poetry from the period 1846-1889.
Sapphism, he says, is of 'equal ardour' as male homosexuality, but it involves less fantasy than its masculine homosexual counterpart: 'feminine love is less artistic and less about adoration than is masculine love' (p718)--another formulation whose unselfconscious partisanship cannot wholly obscure the radical potential of its logic.
The episode is also self-referential on Woolf's part: from her earliest conception of the novel she planned that "Sapphism ...
Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern British Lesbian Culture.
But I find that "lesbian" is not simply a placeholder for women who loved women; I think it can give us a useful shortcut for evoking a whole range of words that have been used to describe attachments between women, ranging from such seemingly neutral words as sapphism, sexual inversion, and homosexuality to pornographic slang such as tribade, fricatrice, and "doing the flats." Like Ellis, I think the word "lesbian" still has an important place in our vocabulary for the study of sexual behaviors among women, though I agree with Nan Alamilla Boyd that it may be most useful to see "lesbian" as a historical artifact created at a particular period and used only intermittently as a self-defining noun.
Lesbian dames; Sapphism in the long eighteenth century.
Knopp " 'If I saw you would you kiss me?' Sapphism and Subversiveness of Virginia Woolf's Orlando," in Sexual Sameness: Textual Differences in Lesbian and Gay Writing, ed.
"'If I Saw You Would You Kiss Me?': Sapphism and the Subversiveness of Virginia Woolf's Orlando." PMLA 103.1 (Jan 1988): 24-34.