Definition of promiscuous in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈmɪskjuəs/


1 derogatory Having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships: promiscuous teenagers they ran wild, indulging in promiscuous sex and experimenting with drugs
More example sentences
  • If the girl was deemed promiscuous, became pregnant, or could not keep a job, she could be returned to the reform school.
  • The only reason he turned her down is because this rumor got started that Christy was the most promiscuous girl at our school.
  • After many years of directing my own sexual education in Paris, I came to see myself as a ‘liberated woman,’ or what some perhaps would call a promiscuous adventurer.
2Demonstrating or implying an undiscriminating or unselective approach; indiscriminate or casual: the city fathers were promiscuous with their honors
More example sentences
  • As the American houses have seduced corporate Britain, so companies have become more promiscuous in their search for intelligence.
  • There's a difference between being promiscuous and making serious strategic bets that may be the cause for regrets.
2.1Consisting of a wide range of different things: Americans are free to pick and choose from a promiscuous array of values and behavior
More example sentences
  • To me, there seems something promiscuous about his geographical range: it looks as though he is looking for battles to fight.



Pronunciation: /prəˈmɪskjuəsli/
Example sentences
  • In 1984, Marxist theorist Frederic Jameson lamented the eruption of a new style of painting that borrowed promiscuously from history and mythology was yet another symptom of a malaise rooted in the emergence of consumer capitalism.
  • While trademarks may sometimes lose protection if they become used promiscuously, copyrighted works remain protected no matter how publicly they're distributed.
  • We recognize that wise statesmen resist the temptation to use power promiscuously, and we stress the virtues of prudence, and self-restraint, in foreign policy.


Pronunciation: /prəˈmɪskjuəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • This human promiscuousness is, of course, just what city-haters detest.


early 17th century: from Latin promiscuus 'indiscriminate' (based on miscere 'to mix') + -ous The early sense was 'consisting of elements mixed together', giving rise to 'indiscriminate' and 'undiscriminating', whence the notion of 'casual'.

  • miscellany from [L16th]:

    This goes back to the Latin miscellus mixed from miscere ‘mix’ ( see mash). This also lies behind promiscuous[E17th]. Its early sense was ‘consisting of elements mixed together’, giving rise to ‘indiscriminate’, and ‘undiscriminating’, from which the notion of ‘casual’ arose.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·mis·cu·ous

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