phal·​lic ˈfa-lik How to pronounce phallic (audio)
: of or relating to phallicism
a phallic cult
: of, relating to, or resembling a phallus
: relating to or being the stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory that follows the anal stage and during which a child becomes interested in his or her own sexual organs
phallically adverb

Examples of phallic in a Sentence

The poem is filled with phallic imagery. an ancient Greek phallic symbol representing fertility
Recent Examples on the Web Brian Peck haunted the fictional set carrying the phallic vegetables and sometimes eating them, which made people uncomfortable. Zoe Guy, Vulture, 7 Apr. 2024 Managing sweat and jiggly phallic simulacrums are all part of the grab bag of a body-centric show. Rachel Sherman, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 But as with a lot of acquisitions, that means that things have changed a little bit since the small app was absorbed into the giant CRM company, whose phallic building sticks out in the San Francisco skyline. Lauren Goode, WIRED, 8 Feb. 2024 One idea was setting it a little bit earlier and having the sleeves tight with the skirts almost phallic. Hedy Phillips, Peoplemag, 15 Dec. 2023 Later, when a drunken foe harasses him into a room and yells at him to take off his jacket, waving his gun around as an obvious phallic stand-in, the camera hints at the contradicting messages no doubt running through Carlos’ mind. Manuel Betancourt, Variety, 8 Dec. 2023 Dildos also tend to have a phallic shape, while vibrating options like bullet vibrators can come in different shapes and sizes to provide internal and/or external stimulation. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 19 Nov. 2023 The main building is a flagrantly phallic tower known as the Endowment. Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 The low-lying installation seems to mock the Washington Monument’s almost phallic presence. Blake Gopnik, New York Times, 18 Aug. 2023

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

Word History


borrowed from Greek phallikós "of or relating to a phallus," from phallós phallus + -ikos -ic entry 1

First Known Use

1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of phallic was in 1704

Dictionary Entries Near phallic

Cite this Entry

“Phallic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


phal·​lic ˈfal-ik How to pronounce phallic (audio)
: of, relating to, or resembling a penis
: of, relating to, or characterized by the stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory following the anal stage and during which a child becomes interested in his or her own sexual organs compare anal sense 2, genital sense 3, oral sense 3

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