• synonyms


[lahy-sen-shuh s]
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  1. sexually unrestrained; lascivious; libertine; lewd.
  2. unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral.
  3. going beyond customary or proper bounds or limits; disregarding rules.
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Origin of licentious

First recorded in 1525–35, licentious is from the Latin word licentiōsus unrestrained. See license, -ous
Related formsli·cen·tious·ly, adverbli·cen·tious·ness, nounnon·li·cen·tious, adjectivenon·li·cen·tious·ly, adverbnon·li·cen·tious·ness, nouno·ver·li·cen·tious, adjectiveo·ver·li·cen·tious·ly, adverbo·ver·li·cen·tious·ness, nounun·li·cen·tious, adjectiveun·li·cen·tious·ly, adverbun·li·cen·tious·ness, noun
Can be confusedlascivious licentious


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2. abandoned, profligate.


2. lawful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for licentiousness


  1. sexually unrestrained or promiscuous
  2. rare showing disregard for convention
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Derived Formslicentiously, adverblicentiousness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin licentiōsus capricious, from licentia licence
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

Word Origin and History for licentiousness



"morally unrestrained," 1530s, from Medieval Latin licentiosus "full of license, unrestrained," from Latin licentia (see license). Related: Licentiously; licentiousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper