licentious

play
adjective li·cen·tious \lī-ˈsen(t)-shəs\

Definition of licentious

  1. 1 :  lacking legal or moral restraints; especially :  disregarding sexual restraints licentious behavior licentious revelers

  2. 2 :  marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness

licentiously

adverb

licentiousness

noun

Examples of licentious in a Sentence

  1. a moralist who decried what she regarded as the licentious and corrupt culture of the entertainment industry

Recent Examples of licentious from the Web

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

The Shared Roots of license and licentious

License and licentious come ultimately from the same word in Latin, licentia, whose meanings ranged from "freedom to act" to "unruly behavior, wantonness." The Latin noun was itself derived from the verb licere "to be permitted." Though we are likely to associate license with the card that grants freedom or permission to operate a motor vehicle and licentious with sexual wantonness, in actuality, there is considerable semantic overlap between the two words. Poetic license refers to deviation from a (usually) literary norm for some purposeful effect. A person who takes license with something (or someone) engages in "abusive disregard for rules of personal conduct." Hence, the semantic range of license in English mirrors that of its Latin antecedent, suggesting either permission or transgression, depending upon the context. Licentious, on the other hand, always implies excessive, transgressive freedom, as is true of its immediate Latin source, licentiosus "unrestrained, wanton" (literally, "full of freedom").

Origin and Etymology of licentious

Latin licentiosus, from licentia


LICENTIOUS Defined for English Language Learners

licentious

play
adjective

Definition of licentious for English Language Learners

  • : sexually immoral or offensive


Law Dictionary

licentious

play
adjective li·cen·tious \lī-ˈsen-chəs\

Legal Definition of licentious

  1. :  disregarding legal restraints especially with regard to sexual relations arrested as a prostitute for licentious sexual intercourse

licentiously

adverb

licentiousness

noun


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