voy·​eur·​ism | \ vwä-ˈyər-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce voyeurism (audio) , vȯi-ˈər- How to pronounce voyeurism (audio) \

Definition of voyeurism

: the desires or behavior of a voyeur: such as
a : the practice of obtaining sexual gratification from observing others Psychiatrists generally divide paraphilias into two groups: those focused on objects, like a foot fetish, and those focused on behaviors, like exhibitionism, voyeurism or frottage— Benedict Carey Ward, if he was guilty of anything at all, was guilty of observation. Looking, or (if you will) leering and ogling are not normally considered indictable offenses in British courts of law, but they do shade over into voyeurism— Paul Thomas also : the criminal act of surreptitiously viewing a person without their consent in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy (such as a home or public bathroom) or of using a device (such as a camera) for the purpose of such viewing A 21-year-old man has been charged with voyeurism for allegedly using his phone's camera to view the person using the restroom in the stall next to him in a dorm on the Notre Dame campus, according to court records. — Melissa Hudson
b : the practice of taking pleasure in observing something private, sordid, or scandalous Now there's a volume for those who are … bored by the salacious voyeurism of tell-alls.— Steven M. Zeitchik Voyeurism allows us to experience all the excitement of disaster, catastrophe, and pain, to witness the most horrible human events, without any danger of feeling real pain.— Gerald Mast But the voice of the diarist … will always exert a fascination close to voyeurism.— Rosellen Brown

Examples of voyeurism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yet the family might insist that its empire isn’t built simply on voyeurism and consumption. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How COVID-19 Dethroned the Kardashians," 17 Nov. 2020 Video voyeurism is defined by state law as recording an image or video of a person without their consent that is used for a lewd or lascivious purpose. Michelle Hunter | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Former teacher jailed in Plaquemines Parish on child pornography, video voyeurism charges, authorities say," 17 Dec. 2020 The journalist Michaela Angela Davis has helped distill Carey’s knotty trajectory into a narrative propelled less by the reader’s voyeurism than by the authentic tensions of Carey’s life. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, "The 15 Best Books of 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 John Coleman, 42, has been booked with two counts of video voyeurism, said Capt. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "Bridge City man suspected of recording 'hundreds' of men using store restrooms," 15 Dec. 2020 When Kristof turns his notebook in the direction of women with stories of trauma, the resulting narratives most often fall somewhere between beneficent voyeurism and journalistic malpractice. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Nick Kristof and the Holy War on Pornhub," 10 Dec. 2020 The moment is both intimate to the point of voyeurism and grand on a scale that rivals the pompous ceremony of royalty. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Lovers Rock Is The Most Magical Sexy Party Of The Year (& You Can Attend Safely From Home)," 27 Nov. 2020 Like any good prank, especially the pranks DeGeneres loves, cash-for-kindness revels in voyeurism, deceit, and discomfort, all of which get forgiven in the name of a laugh. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Mystery of Ellen DeGeneres," 23 Aug. 2020 Prosecutors on Monday charged Lance Wade Woods, 56, of Cypress Inn, Tenn. with video voyeurism, a law which prohibits capturing an image of a private area of an individual without their consent. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "Tennessee man charged in Colbert County video voyeurism incident," 30 Oct. 2020

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

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First Known Use of voyeurism

1913, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for voyeurism

Time Traveler

The first known use of voyeurism was in 1913

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Statistics for voyeurism

Last Updated

31 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Voyeurism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/voyeurism. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for voyeurism


voy·​eur·​ism | \ -ˌiz-əm How to pronounce voyeurism (audio) \

Medical Definition of voyeurism

: the tendencies or behavior of a voyeur

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