onan·​ism ˈō-nə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce onanism (audio)
: self-gratification
the kind of intellectual onanism to which he was dedicatedEsther P. Shiverick
onanistic adjective

Examples of onanism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Writing is such a solitary art — onanism with words — that only the most perverse would want someone watching the act. Odie Henderson, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Jan. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'onanism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from New Latin onanismus, from Onan, son of Judah (Genesis 38:9)

First Known Use

1718, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of onanism was in 1718

Dictionary Entries Near onanism

Cite this Entry

“Onanism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/onanism. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


onan·​ism ˈō-nə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce onanism (audio)
onanistic adjective
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