[ mas-uh-kiz-uh m, maz- ]
/ ˈmæs əˌkɪz əm, ˈmæz- /


Psychiatry. the condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering physical pain or humiliation.
gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, especially the tendency to seek this form of gratification.
the act of turning one's destructive tendencies inward or upon oneself.
the tendency to find pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc.


Origin of masochism

1890–95; named after L. von Sacher-Masoch, who described it; see -ism
Related formsmas·och·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for masochism

British Dictionary definitions for masochism


/ (ˈmæsəˌkɪzəm) /


psychiatry an abnormal condition in which pleasure, esp sexual pleasure, is derived from pain or from humiliation, domination, etc, by another person
psychoanal the directing towards oneself of any destructive tendencies
a tendency to take pleasure from one's own sufferingCompare sadism
Derived Formsmasochist, noun, adjectivemasochistic, adjectivemasochistically, adverb

Word Origin for masochism

C19: named after Leopold von Sacher Masoch (1836–95), Austrian novelist, who described it
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 masochism



"sexual pleasure in being hurt or abused," 1892, from German Masochismus, coined 1883 by German neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902), from name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895), Austrian utopian socialist novelist who enshrined his submissive sexuality in "Venus in Furs" (1869, German title "Venus im Pelz").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for masochism


[ măsə-kĭz′əm ]


The act or an instance of deriving sexual gratification from being physically or emotionally abused.
A psychological disorder in which sexual gratification is derived from being physically or emotionally abused.
The act or an instance of deriving pleasure from being offended, dominated, or mistreated.
The tendency to seek such mistreatment.
Related formsmasoch•ist n.mas′och•istic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for masochism


[ (mas-uh-kiz-uhm) ]

Abnormal behavior characterized by deriving sexual gratification from being subjected to pain. More loosely, masochism refers to deriving any pleasure from experiencing pain. (Compare sadism.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.