sodomy

noun

sod·​omy ˈsä-də-mē How to pronounce sodomy (audio)
1
: anal or oral copulation with another person
especially : anal or oral copulation with a member of the same sex
2
: copulation with an animal
sodomitic adjective
or sodomitical
Usage of Sodomy

The word sodomy has a long history of use in reference to culturally stigmatized sex acts, and often specifically to sex acts between people of the same sex. In current usage, the term occurs most commonly in contexts relating to laws against such acts (called sodomy laws). In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court held laws against consensual sex acts between adults of the same sex to be unconstitutional.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The Douglas County Sheriff's office arrested Baber on suspicion of third-degree rape, third-degree sodomy, and unlawful delivery of marijuana to a minor, among other charges, the newspaper reported. Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY, 19 Dec. 2017 Works is charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy, the website reported, citing state court records. Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com, 12 Dec. 2017 He is charged in Jackson County with rape, sodomy, kidnapping and stealing. Toriano Porter, kansascity, 2 Nov. 2017 The ramifications of such rumors could be serious in Guyana, Mr. Amin said, since the country still has laws against sodomy that could be punishable by life in prison, even if they are rarely enforced. Liz Robbins, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2017 Both men are charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy in connection with the attack that happened Sept. 15 on a campus shuttle. Kent Faulk, AL.com, 1 Oct. 2017 Deadline was the first to report the news, saying the report revolved around accusations of sodomy. Kimberly Nordyke, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Oct. 2017 When Sessions served as Alabama attorney general, the state still criminalized sodomy. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate Magazine, 3 Oct. 2017 Jackman, who retired in December 2015, was indicted in September 2016 on multiple charges, including first-, second- and third-degree sodomy. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, 10 Oct. 2017 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English sodomie "a culturally stigmatized form of sexual intercourse," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin sodomia, from Late Latin Sodoma sodom (Greek Sódoma, Hebrew Sĕdhōm) + Latin -ia -ia entry 1; from the belief that the men of Sodom's intention was to practice such intercourse on Lot's male guests (in the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom, Genesis 18-19)

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of sodomy was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sodomy

Cite this Entry

“Sodomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sodomy. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition

sodomy

noun
sod·​omy ˈsäd-ə-mē How to pronounce sodomy (audio)
plural sodomies
1
: anal or oral copulation with another person
especially : anal or oral copulation with a member of the same sex
2
: copulation with an animal

Legal Definition

sodomy

noun
sod·​omy ˈsä-də-mē How to pronounce sodomy (audio)
: the crime of oral or anal sexual contact or penetration between persons or of sexual intercourse between a person and an animal
especially : the crime of forcing another person to perform oral or anal sex
sodomize transitive verb

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