Definition of masochism in English:

Share this entry


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

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words