Definition of masochism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmasəˌkizəm/


1The tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from one’s own pain or humiliation.
Example sentences
  • His eyes widened as he read about sadism and masochism, bondage and domination.
  • There are different theories related to sexual masochism, many stemming from the psychoanalytic camp.
  • Though the pursuit of sexual ecstasy through pain is seen as masochism, as a perversion, Bataille argues that this is one example of liberation through surrender.
1.1(In general use) the enjoyment of what appears to be painful or tiresome: isn’t there some masochism involved in taking on this kind of project?
More example sentences
  • I always knew you had to be a bit of a sadist to cook - after all, you have to beat the eggs and whip the cream - but now cooking is an exercise in masochism as well.
  • Supporting the modern multiplex is an exercise in commercial masochism.
  • There is nothing quite like following Oasis as an exercise in masochism.


Late 19th century: named after Leopold von Sacher- Masoch (1835–95), the Austrian novelist who described it, + -ism.

  • Sexual pleasure derived from pain features in several stories by the 19th-century Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The German term Masochismus was used in 1890, and by 1892 English had adopted it as masochism. See also sadism

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mas·och·ism

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