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[mas-uh-kiz-uh m, maz-] /ˈmæs əˌkɪz əm, ˈmæz-/
Psychiatry. the condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering physical pain or humiliation.
gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, especially the tendency to seek this form of gratification.
the act of turning one's destructive tendencies inward or upon oneself.
the tendency to find pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc.
Origin of masochism
1890-95; named after L. von Sacher-Masoch, who described it; see -ism
Related forms
masochist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for masochism


(psychiatry) an abnormal condition in which pleasure, esp sexual pleasure, is derived from pain or from humiliation, domination, etc, by another person
(psychoanal) the directing towards oneself of any destructive tendencies
a tendency to take pleasure from one's own suffering Compare sadism
Derived Forms
masochist, noun, adjective
masochistic, adjective
masochistically, adverb
Word Origin
C19: named after Leopold von Sacher Masoch (1836–95), Austrian novelist, who described it
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for masochism

"sexual pleasure in being hurt or abused," 1892, from German Masochismus, coined 1883 by German neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902), from name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895), Austrian utopian socialist novelist who enshrined his submissive sexuality in "Venus in Furs" (1869, German title "Venus im Pelz").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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masochism in Medicine

masochism mas·och·ism (mās'ə-kĭz'əm)

  1. The act or an instance of deriving sexual gratification from being physically or emotionally abused.

  2. A psychological disorder in which sexual gratification is derived from being physically or emotionally abused.

  3. The act or an instance of deriving pleasure from being offended, dominated, or mistreated.

  4. The tendency to seek such mistreatment.

mas'och·ist n.
mas'och·is'tic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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masochism in Culture
masochism [(mas-uh-kiz-uhm)]

Abnormal behavior characterized by deriving sexual gratification from being subjected to pain. More loosely, masochism refers to deriving any pleasure from experiencing pain. (Compare sadism.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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