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[fal-uh s] /ˈfæl əs/
noun, plural phalli
[fal-ahy] /ˈfæl aɪ/ (Show IPA),
an image of the male reproductive organ, especially that carried in procession in ancient festivals of Dionysus, or Bacchus, symbolizing the generative power in nature.
Anatomy. the penis, the clitoris, or the sexually undifferentiated embryonic organ out of which either of these develops.
Origin of phallus
1605-15; < Latin < Greek phallós penis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for phallus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It's a sort of phallus worship that always was and always will be.

  • Which was the more worthy of deification—the yoni, or the phallus?

  • This is not a criticism of the phallus on grounds of obscenity, but on grounds of buffoonery.


    William Graham Sumner
  • At Rome the phallus was an amulet and was worn by all children.


    William Graham Sumner
  • The head of the phallus was enlivened with the face of a saint.

    Fantazius Mallare Ben Hecht
  • For I see now that man is a collection of adjectives loaned to a phallus.

    Fantazius Mallare Ben Hecht
  • At the festivals women carried the phallus in their processions.

    The Christ John Eleazer Remsburg
British Dictionary definitions for phallus


noun (pl) -luses, -li (-laɪ)
another word for penis
an image of the penis, esp as a religious symbol of reproductive power
Word Origin
C17: via Late Latin from Greek phallos
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 phallus

1610s, "an image of the penis," from Latin phallus, from Greek phallos "penis," also "carving or image of an erect penis (symbolizing the generative power in nature) used in the cult of Dionysus," from PIE *bhel-no-, from root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (cf. Old Norse boli "bull," Old English bulluc "little bull," and possibly Greek phalle "whale;" see bole). Used of the penis itself (often in symbolic context) from 1924, originally in jargon of psychoanalysis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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phallus in Medicine

phallus phal·lus (fāl'əs)
n. pl. phal·lus·es or phal·li (fāl'ī')

  1. The penis.

  2. The sexually undifferentiated tissue in an embryo that becomes the penis or clitoris.

  3. The immature penis considered in psychoanalysis as the libidinal object of infantile sexuality in the male.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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