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[pruh-mis-kyoo-uh s] /prəˈmɪs kyu əs/
characterized by or involving indiscriminate mingling or association, especially having sexual relations with a number of partners on a casual basis.
consisting of parts, elements, or individuals of different kinds brought together without order.
indiscriminate; without discrimination.
casual; irregular; haphazard.
Origin of promiscuous
1595-1605; < Latin prōmiscuus mixed up, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + misc(ēre) to mix + -uus deverbal adj. suffix; see -ous
Related forms
promiscuously, adverb
promiscuousness, noun
hyperpromiscuous, adjective
hyperpromiscuously, adverb
hyperpromiscuousness, noun
nonpromiscuous, adjective
nonpromiscuously, adverb
nonpromiscuousness, noun
unpromiscuous, adjective
unpromiscuously, adverb
unpromiscuousness, noun
1. unchaste. 2. hodgepodge, confused, mixed, jumbled. See miscellaneous. 3. careless.
1, 2. pure. 3. selective. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for promiscuous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Camille was there, dispensing its promiscuous hospitality to men who ate like pigs.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • It is lawful for the body to have its desires and its loves, but not to be promiscuous and unfaithful.

    The Golden Fountain Lilian Staveley
  • As to his relations with women, they appeared to have been promiscuous but superficial.

    The Return of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle
  • But this is all promiscuous: I an't talkin of the survants now, but the masters.

    Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush William Makepeace Thackeray
  • “I take all the risks, I take all the risks,” the editor of the promiscuous repeated.

  • I strolled round one morning promiscuous, and sat down in his office.

    Lorimer of the Northwest Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for promiscuous


indulging in casual and indiscriminate sexual relationships
consisting of a number of dissimilar parts or elements mingled in a confused or indiscriminate manner
indiscriminate in selection
casual or heedless
Derived Forms
promiscuously, adverb
promiscuousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin prōmiscuus indiscriminate, from pro-1 + miscēre to mix
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 promiscuous

c.1600, people or things, "mingled confusedly, grouped together without order, consisting of a disorderly mix; indiscriminate," from Latin promiscuus "mixed, indiscriminate, in common, without distinction," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + miscere "to mix" (see mix (v.)). Meaning "indiscriminate in sexual relations" recorded by 1857, from promiscuity. The Latin adjective was used with conubia (e.g. between patricians and plebeians). Related: Promiscuously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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