voy·​eur·​ism | \ vwä-ˈyər-ˌi-zəm, vȯi-ˈər-\

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
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

The first is the reality-show novel, a degraded form of autofiction reduced to narcissistic testimonies that satisfy the voyeurism of readers and fill the pockets of publishers. Constance Grady, Vox, "Elite library sorters race to process books in cutthroat competition," 17 Nov. 2018 Out My Window George Eastman Museum Through Jan. 1, 2019 More Art Reviews Ms. Halaban’s intentions are nobler than mere voyeurism; in fact, there is nothing in the least salacious about her make-believe Peeping Tomism. William Meyers, WSJ, "‘Gail Albert Halaban: Out My Window’ Review: Voyeuristic Beauty," 18 Sep. 2018 Stories about those who arrive on a therapist’s couch to complain about their love woes may appeal to our instincts for voyeurism, but Mr. Tallis never veers into prurience. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘The Incurable Romantic’ Review: Truly, Madly, Deeply," 5 Oct. 2018 These episodes are unsavory occasions for voyeurism, and an apology adds nothing except a warm tingle of sanctimony for those who chase the adulterers with torches and pitchforks. Marcia Desanctis, Town & Country, "Mark Sanford, Act II," 14 Feb. 2013 The widespread outrage across India prompted quick action on legislation that doubled prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalized voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women. Aijaz Hussain, The Seattle Times, "India court keeps 3 death sentences in 2012 fatal gang rape," 9 July 2018 The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to forcing a 25-year-old woman to marry him as well as rape, bigamy and voyeurism. USA TODAY, "Mother convicted in landmark British case over forced marriage," 23 May 2018 Over the past two years in Britain, 78 incidents were reported but only 11 suspects were charged under the current laws on voyeurism and public indecency. New York Times, "U.K. Government Backs Bill to Make ‘Upskirting’ a Crime," 15 June 2018 The Met is, perhaps unintentionally, supporting voyeurism and the objectification of children. Michael Slenske And Molly Langmuir, The Cut, "Who’s Afraid of the Female Nude?," 18 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for voyeurism

Last Updated

27 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for voyeurism

The first known use of voyeurism was in 1913

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More Definitions for voyeurism


voy·​eur·​ism | \ -ˌiz-əm \

Medical Definition of voyeurism

: the tendencies or behavior of a voyeur

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