les·​bi·​an | \ˈlez-bē-ən \

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

Among gay, lesbian, and bisexual students, suicide attempts have increased more than 25 percent since 2009. Eileen Reslen, Seventeen, "3 Vital Tips for College Students Who Are Struggling With Mental Health," 10 Oct. 2018 School can already be a frightening zone for transgender students, who are more likely to feel unsafe than their peers — even those who are lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Caitlin Flynn, Teen Vogue, "Advocacy Group Says a Student Was Left in the Hallway During an Active Shooter Drill Because She's Transgender," 9 Oct. 2018 Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "Ruby Rose gets emotional about LGBT superhero casting: 'I never saw someone on TV I could identify with'," 9 Aug. 2018 Many physicians and other clinicians provide care to people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual, Petroll said. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Froedtert Health and Medical College of Wisconsin to open clinic that focuses on LGBTQ community," 8 June 2018 The increases were particularly pointed among lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students. New York Times, "Sex and Drugs Decline Among Teens, but Depression and Suicidal Thoughts Grow," 14 June 2018 Of the 115 Democrats running for Legislature, five are current teachers; 58 are women; 51 are people of color; and eight are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, according to ADLCC. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "In wake of #RedForEd, first-time candidates flood races for Arizona Legislature," 4 June 2018 Three years later, as the group faced criticism from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups, the Boy Scouts formally announced an end to its ban on gay Scouts. Kurtis Lee, latimes.com, "Mormon Church to sever all ties with Boy Scouts, ending a century-old bond," 9 May 2018 Most were focused on the lesbian, gay and bisexual part of the acronym, said Jeremy Goldbach, an associate professor of social work at the University of Southern California who specializes in LGBT issues. Mark Thiessen, The Seattle Times, "Anchorage voters are first in U.S. to defeat ‘bathroom bill’," 12 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gays and lesbians fear evangelical social conservatism. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Brazil Is Moving Its Embassy to Jerusalem," 5 Nov. 2018 Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, and lesbians have discovered discriminatory comments left on receipts too. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Racial slurs and fat-shaming insults keep popping up on receipts. Is Trump worsening the trend?," 29 Oct. 2018 Some people think that Rose should make way for other people who look like her to join the ranks of major TV shows and movie casts: Imagine the hubbub when Hollywood discovers there are two, even three more lesbians other than Ruby Rose. Megan Lasher, Seventeen, "Ruby Rose Will Play The First Ever Lesbian "Batwoman" and People Have FEELINGS," 8 Aug. 2018 An article by a Malaysian newspaper on how to identify lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people has sparked outrage on social media, as the country grapples with the growing influence of religious hardliners. NBC News, "Malaysian newspaper's how-to-spot-a-gay checklist sparks outrage," 13 Feb. 2018 But Combs was a leading opponent of the vote last February by the Jackson City Council to enact a banning discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Appointee to Civil Rights Commission unapologetic, says gays aren't disadvantaged," 4 Feb. 2018 The Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ new outreach campaign is one of a handful of efforts by state and city governments across the U.S. to encourage gays and lesbians to consider becoming adoptive or foster parents. NBC News, "Connecticut recruiting LGBTQ families to adopt, foster kids," 18 May 2018 Among the 2017 films that include LGBTQ characters, gay men were most present (64%) followed by lesbians (36%) and bisexuals (14%). Tre'vell Anderson, latimes.com, "GLAAD's report on LGBTQ representation in 2017 films finds inclusion trending down," 22 May 2018 In this climate of hatred toward anyone who does not fit our version of the norm, gays, lesbians, transgender persons and others have been swept up in the storm of intolerance that is pounding down on our country. Dahleen Glanton, chicagotribune.com, "Intolerance toward gays has softened, but it persists," 14 May 2018

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


1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near lesbian







Les Cayes

Statistics for lesbian

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lesbian

The first known use of lesbian was in 1567

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English Language Learners Definition of lesbian

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


les·​bi·​an | \ˈlez-bē-ən \

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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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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