BDSM

abbreviation or noun

: sexual activity involving such practices as the use of physical restraints, the granting and relinquishing of control, and the infliction of pain
He provided a vivid insight into the life of a dedicated follower of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) as he gave evidence to his trial at Guildford Crown Court.Sam Marsden
BDSM refers to a range of sexual preferences that generally relate to enjoyment of physical control, psychological control, and/or pain.Ali Hebert and Angela Weaver
Whatever one thinks of BDSM, given the pain and intensity associated with it, it certainly doesn't come across as a stress-reducing activity—to most outsiders, there wouldn't appear to be anything relaxing about whips and handcuffs.Roni Jacobson
BDSM communities have been quick to distance themselves from Fifty Shades, and, indeed, from any beliefs or behaviours incompatible with informed, enthusiastic and uncoerced consent.Emer O'Toole

Word History

Etymology

bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism

Note: The d and s have also been taken to stand for dominance and submission.

First Known Use

1991, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of BDSM was in 1991

Dictionary Entries Near BDSM

Cite this Entry

“BDSM.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/BDSM. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY