[ sey-diz-uh m, sad-iz- ]
/ ˈseɪ dɪz əm, ˈsæd ɪz- /


Psychiatry. the condition in which sexual gratification depends on causing pain or degradation to others.Compare masochism.
any enjoyment in being cruel.
extreme cruelty.

Origin of sadism

1885–90; < French sadisme; see Sade, -ism

Related forms

sa·dist, noun, adjectivesa·dis·tic [suh-dis-tik, sey-, sa-] /səˈdɪs tɪk, seɪ-, sæ-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sadism

British Dictionary definitions for sadism


/ (ˈseɪdɪzəm, ˈsæ-) /


the gaining of pleasure or sexual gratification from the infliction of pain and mental suffering on another personSee also algolagnia Compare masochism

Derived Forms

sadist, nounsadistic (səˈdɪstɪk), adjectivesadistically, adverb

Word Origin for sadism

C19: from French, named after the Marquis de Sade
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

Medicine definitions for sadism


[ sādĭz′əm, sădĭz′- ]


The act or an instance of deriving sexual gratification from infliction of pain on others.
A psychosexual disorder in which sexual gratification is derived from infliction of pain on others.

Related forms

sadist•distic (sə-dĭstĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for sadism


[ (say-diz-uhm, sad-iz-uhm) ]

Abnormal behavior characterized by deriving sexual gratification from inflicting pain on others. More loosely, sadism refers to deriving any pleasure from inflicting pain. Named after the Marquis de Sade, a French author of the eighteenth century, whose works describe many sexual perversities.

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.