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  1. intense sexual desire or appetite.
  2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
  3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually followed by for): a lust for power.
  4. ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish: an enviable lust for life.
  5. Obsolete.
    1. pleasure or delight.
    2. desire; inclination; wish.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to have intense sexual desire.
  2. to have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving (often followed by for or after).
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Origin of lust

before 900; Middle English luste, Old English lust; cognate with Dutch, German lust pleasure, desire; akin to Old Norse lyst desire; see list4
Related formsun·lust·ing, adjective

Synonyms for lust

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

Related Words for lust

desire, longing, sensuality, hunger, libido, thirst, excitement, fervor, craving, greed, covet, crave, yearn, itch, hanker, eroticism, yen, carnality, avidity, appetence

Examples from the Web for lust

Contemporary Examples of lust

Historical Examples of lust

British Dictionary definitions for lust


  1. a strong desire for sexual gratification
  2. a strong desire or drive
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  1. (intr; often foll by after or for) to have a lust (for)
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Word Origin for lust

Old English; related to Old High German lust desire, Old Norse losti sexual desire, Latin lascīvus playful, wanton, lustful. Compare listless
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 lust


Old English lust "desire, appetite, pleasure," from Proto-Germanic *lustuz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch, German lust, Old Norse lyst, Gothic lustus "pleasure, desire, lust"), from PIE *las- "to be eager, wanton, or unruly" (cf. Latin lascivus "wanton, playful, lustful;" see lascivious).

In Middle English, "any source of pleasure or delight," also "an appetite," also "a liking for a person," also "fertility" (of soil). Sense of "sinful sexual desire, degrading animal passion" (now the main meaning) developed in late Old English from the word's use in Bible translations (e.g. lusts of the flesh to render Latin concupiscentia carnis [I John ii:16]); the cognate words in other Germanic languages tend still to mean simply "pleasure."

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c.1200, "to wish, to desire," from lust (n.) and Old English lystan (see list (v.4)). Sense of "to have a strong sexual desire (for or after)" is first attested 1520s in biblical use. Related: Lusted; lusting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper