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

Example Sentences

The poem is filled with phallic imagery. an ancient Greek phallic symbol representing fertility
Recent Examples on the Web In other words, these female representations in Stone Age people might have symbolized the same type of power as phallic symbols that are often also represented in cave art and other artifacts from the era. Joshua Learn, Discover Magazine, 5 Mar. 2021 This is the second time this year the church has been vandalized in the middle of the night with phallic images, Roraff said. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Nov. 2022 Smith then apparently asked for a phallic statue of their own while recording at a studio near Sheeran's house. Jack Irvin, Peoplemag, 19 Oct. 2022 For word nerds, despite its somewhat phallic presence, ‘La’ Tour Eiffel is actually a feminine word, and not to be confused with masculine ‘Le’ Tour (de France). Melanie Mitchell, Outside Online, 8 Oct. 2022 Watch Sheeran discuss his new phallic hobby — and, hey, meeting Queen Elizabeth II! Emlyn Travis,, 14 Oct. 2022 Spears sprays baby oil onto the child’s back and massages it into his shoulders in one scene, and at another point the child plays with a train in a manner that suggests phallic masturbation. Ethan Shanfeld, Variety, 5 Sep. 2022 At a military position near the front line, members of a Ukrainian military unit snickered as a soldier with tattooed arms scrawled a phallic symbol on an artillery shell designed for an M777 howitzer cannon. Kostiantyn Khudov, Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2022 Known for its expertly curated, unconventional museums, including one of the phallic kind, Reykjavik has over 60 museums, exhibit spaces and art galleries to explore. Katie Lockhart, House Beautiful, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

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

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 21 Mar. 2023.

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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