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

Definition of lesbian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : of or relating to Lesbos
2 [from the reputed homosexual band associated with Sappho of Lesbos] : of or relating to homosexuality between females



Definition of lesbian (Entry 2 of 2)

: a woman who is a homosexual

Examples of lesbian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective He was taken in by two lesbian women and a transgender woman. San Antonio Express-News, "HIV services in San Antonio," 24 Oct. 2019 Include examples representative of minorities, for example, a transgender woman, a lesbian woman etc., [Brackets and emphasis added.] Let’s examine the petition’s objectives in order. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Redefine ‘Woman,’ Activists Urge," 17 Sep. 2019 The Supreme Court decision, however, didn’t address the larger issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people. Jonathan J. Cooper, The Denver Post, "Arizona artists win suit over same-sex wedding invitations," 16 Sep. 2019 Do lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people need a bank of their own? Jeff Green, Fortune, "First Gay Credit Union Given Green Light to Prioritize LGBTQ Customers," 9 Sep. 2019 In Mosier’s experience, transgender people more frequently encounter backlash for not immediately disclosing their identities than lesbian, gay or bisexual people do. Marisa Iati, Washington Post, "Do LGBTQ athletes owe the public a revelation about their sexuality? Straight athletes don’t.," 5 Sep. 2019 The annual event, which promotes the acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, is the closest thing Singapore has to a gay pride parade. Lauren Messman, New York Times, "A Global Gay Pride Weekend, in Photos," 30 June 2019 At times in the past, some critics perceived the group as focusing too heavily on the interests of white gay and lesbian people. David Crary, baltimoresun.com, "University of Maryland alumnus Alphonso David to head Human Rights Campaign, a major LGBTQ-rights group," 25 June 2019 On April 27, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally banned gay and lesbian people from serving in the federal government or working with any private contractors doing government work. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "The United States Government's Anti-Gay Lavender Scare, Explained," 26 Apr. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Several other countries already offer assisted reproduction to lesbians and single women but French law currently allows it only for infertile heterosexual couples. San Diego Union-Tribune, "French conservatives protest bill allowing IVF for lesbians," 6 Oct. 2019 This could reflect the influence of hormones or possibly social differences among gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, the study authors speculated. Susan Scutti, CNN, "No 'gay gene' can predict sexual orientation, study says," 30 Aug. 2019 Tackling everything from working at Postmates to the ways men stupidly react to lesbians, Wayans is a refreshing voice in the comedy landscape. Sydney Scott, Essence, "Comedian Chaunté Wayans Is More Than Her Last Name," 30 Aug. 2019 New Jersey Barnegat Township: The Republican mayor of this small town is urging residents to oppose a state law that requires middle and high schools to instruct students on the contributions of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. USA TODAY, "Emoji house, Saharan dust, turtle crossing: News from around our 50 states," 8 Aug. 2019 And then at another point all the white women were lesbians and all the black women were straight, and that did not work well. Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, "The Radical Transformations of a Battered Women’s Shelter," 13 Aug. 2019 Many older lesbians are also reluctant to revisit the past, Grahn said. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lesbian archive preserves a time when the Bay Area changed radically," 26 May 2018 Fifty years ago, just as gay liberation movements swept cities around the world, some lesbians began to leave them. Rina Raphael, New York Times, "Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Live in This Perfect Place?," 24 Aug. 2019 Fans of The L Word probably remember that Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman) had a baby in the original run of the Showtime series about lesbians living and loving in Los Angeles. Tim Stack, EW.com, "The L Word: Generation Q casts Bette and Tina's daughter," 26 July 2019

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 1


1732, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for lesbian

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for lesbian

The first known use of lesbian was in 1559

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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 or relating to homosexuality between females



Medical Definition of lesbian (Entry 2 of 2)

: a female homosexual

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More from Merriam-Webster on lesbian

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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something of little or no value

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