les·​bi·​an | \ ˈlez-bē-ən How to pronounce lesbian (audio) \

Definition of lesbian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 [from association with the ardent poetry written by Sappho of Lesbos (c. 610-c. 580 b.c.) to and about other women in the female religious and educational community she led] : of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to other women or between women gay and lesbian veterans a lesbian relationship
2 Lesbian : of or relating to Lesbos


plural lesbians

Definition of lesbian (Entry 2 of 2)

: a woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to other women : a gay woman lesbians and gay men

Examples of lesbian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Even as the death toll rose, the Roman Catholic Church reinforced its stance and also opposed the gay and lesbian rights movement more generally, creating an ongoing tension. NBC News, 17 Nov. 2021 Bangor Christian School will not hire teachers who are transgender, and neither school will hire teachers who are gay or lesbian, according to a filing from the state to the Supreme Court. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 8 Dec. 2021 In this slasher film, lesbian couple Renee and Valerie leave the big city to go to a rural cabin to attend a wedding-planning retreat for their friends, a gay couple. NBC News, 27 Oct. 2021 The series follows an interracial lesbian couple with a mix of biological, adopted and foster children, and the unique challenges and emotions that come with that kind of family. Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2021 One is in the closet; the other is out, living her fullest lesbian life. Brandon Tensley, CNN, 25 Dec. 2021 Ry Russo-Young’s three-part documentary about her lesbian mothers and the sperm donor who sued them for parental rights, threatening to pull apart her family, built to a powerful and eloquent conclusion. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2021 But while lesbian bars are disappearing, that need for safe community spaces is not. Bon Appétit, 30 Nov. 2021 Ciacchi berated township officers with insults over the course of about 90 minutes, including using at least one anti-lesbian insult aimed at a female officer, the letter said. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, 3 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Transgender youths reported higher rates of bullying than cisgender gay, lesbian and bisexual youths — 61 percent and 45 percent, respectively. Matt Lavietes, NBC News, 22 Oct. 2021 In September, authorities opened a probe into Georgia’s state prisons and its treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender prisoners. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, chief of Justice's Civil Rights Division, said the inquiry was sparked by alarming reports of prisoner-on-prisoner attacks, along with prisoner and staff assaults on gay, lesbian and transgender inmates. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2021 The Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that a landmark civil rights law, under a provision called Title VII, protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment. Jonathan Mattise, Anchorage Daily News, 31 Aug. 2021 The long march toward equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender Americans - whose advocates have eyed major advances with complete Democratic control in Washington - has run into a wall of opposition in the U.S. Senate. BostonGlobe.com, 20 June 2021 Third-generation cheesemaker Pangiotis Tastanis (a Lesbian, but not a lesbian) makes the cheese the old way: formed out of pure sheep’s milk, brined with super-concentrated salt from a nearby bay. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Nov. 2021 Also, Tina who despite being Jill’s side lesbian lover and cheating on her own husband, ironically isn’t the biggest fan of adultery. Kyesha Jennings, Vulture, 10 Nov. 2021 Elaine Romagnoli, the creator of the notable New York lesbian bars Bonnie & Clyde’s, the Cubby Hole and Crazy Nanny’s, died on Oct. 28 at her home in Manhattan. New York Times, 8 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lesbian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lesbian


1559, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1732, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lesbian

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The first known use of lesbian was in 1559

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lesbian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lesbian. Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for lesbian



English Language Learners Definition of lesbian

: a woman who is sexually attracted to other women : a female homosexual


les·​bi·​an | \ ˈlez-bē-ən How to pronounce lesbian (audio) \

Medical Definition of lesbian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to other women or between women gay and lesbian adults a lesbian relationship



Medical Definition of lesbian (Entry 2 of 2)

: a woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to other women : a gay woman

More from Merriam-Webster on lesbian

Nglish: Translation of lesbian for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lesbian for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lesbian


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