1

sapphic

adjective sap·phic \ ˈsa-fik \

Definition of sapphic

1 capitalized : of or relating to the Greek lyric poet Sappho
2 : of, relating to, or consisting of a 4-line strophe made up of chiefly trochaic and dactylic feet
3 : lesbian 2

sapphic and Greek Poet Sappho

The poet Sappho wrote poems of self-reflection but also of passion, some of it directed to the women attending the school she conducted on the Greek island of Lesbos around 600 B.C. Even though most of the poems survive only as fragments, they have been greatly admired for many centuries. They were written in an original rhythmical pattern, which has become known as sapphic verse. Later admirers, such as the Roman poets Catullus and Horace, honored her by adopting the sapphic meter for their own poetry. Because of Sappho, the island of Lesbos also gave its name to lesbianism, which writers often used to call sapphic love.

First Known Use of sapphic

1501

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

2

sapphic

noun

Definition of sapphic

1 : a verse having the metrical pattern of one of the first three lines of a sapphic strophe
2 : a sapphic strophe

First Known Use of sapphic

1586

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

SAPPHIC Defined for English Language Learners

sapphic

Definition of sapphic for English Language Learners

  • : of or relating to sexual relations between women


Medical Dictionary

sapphic

adjective or noun sap·phic \ ˈsaf-ik \

medical Definition of sapphic

Biographical Note for sapphic

  • Sappho play \ˈsaf-(ˌ)ō\ (flourished circa 610 BC–circa 580 BC), Greek lyric poet. Sappho was the leading spirit of a coterie of female poets on the Aegean isle of Lesbos. Because of the homosexual themes in her poetry, she herself has traditionally been regarded as homosexual.

  • Learn More about sapphic


    Seen and Heard

    What made you want to look up sapphic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

    Love words? Need even more definitions?

    Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

    WORD OF THE DAY

    to coax or persuade

    Get Word of the Day daily email!

    Test Your Vocabulary

    May 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

    • spring-flowers
    • Which is a synonym of raillery?
    True or False

    Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    SCRABBLE® Sprint

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

    TAKE THE QUIZ

    Love words? Need even more definitions?

    Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!