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[nim-fuh-lep-see] /ˈnɪm fəˌlɛp si/
noun, plural nympholepsies.
an ecstasy supposed by the ancients to be inspired by nymphs.
a frenzy of emotion, as for something unattainable.
Origin of nympholepsy
1765-75; formed on nympholept, on the model of epilepsy
Related forms
[nim-fuh-lep-tik] /ˌnɪm fəˈlɛp tɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for nympholepsy


noun (pl) -sies
a state of violent emotion, esp when associated with a desire for something one cannot have
Derived Forms
nympholeptic, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from nympholept, on the model of epilepsy
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 nympholepsy

"frenzy or rapture supposed to take hold of a man upon gazing on a nymph," 1775, coined by Richard Chandler, in "Travels in Greece," from nymph, on model of epilepsy, with second element from stem of Greek lambanein "to take." Especially "an ecstasy or frenzy caused by desire for the unattainable." Ancient Greek had nympholeptos "caught by nymphs." Related: Nympholept; nympholeptic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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