Share this entry
licentious Line breaks: li¦cen|tious
Pronunciation: /lʌɪˈsɛnʃəs/

Definition of licentious in English:


1Promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters: the ruler’s tyrannical and licentious behaviour the licentious avenues of New York City
More example sentences
  • World famous, he is also a great womanizer, acknowledged as such by his colleagues, wife, and friends who themselves enjoy an entertainingly licentious social and sexual life.
  • The poet Philip Larkin noted that sexual intercourse began in 1963, but a long suppressed study has shown that Britain indulged in licentious behaviour long before the dawn of the permissive society, writes Tom Baird.
  • I myself visited a striptease establishment in the early 1970s and found the experience detumescent and soporific rather than conducive to licentious behaviour.
ribald, risqué, smutty, dirty, filthy, coarse, perverted
informal horny, raunchy, naughty, pervy
British informal randy
2 archaic Disregarding accepted conventions, especially in grammar or literary style.
Example sentences
  • In Paris it was welcomed by a public with a strong appetite for the irreverent and licentious in literature, and probably for subversive ideas of any kind in philosophy and theology.


Pronunciation: /lʌɪˈsɛnʃəsli/
Example sentences
  • In it the hero Oliver laments: ‘Wouldn't it have been really better to live like Mario, not socially labelled, not insured or predestined, but irresponsibly, even licentiously, within the limits of kindness and honour?’
  • Perhaps no creature makes a better role model than these spotted animals, licentiously advertising their lust and hunger in wild howls and mad scratchings.
  • Several runners advanced across the field towards the keep, and he grinned licentiously.
Pronunciation: /lʌɪˈsɛnʃəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • In Galatians 5: 19-21 the list is headed by sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, and idolatry.
  • Tiberius distinguished his reign by great indolence, excessive cruelty, unprincipled avarice, and abandoned licentiousness.
  • Default, unearned respect for culture breeds a decadent cultural licentiousness in which any amount of pretentious nonsense is encouraged and propagated.


Late Middle English: from Latin licentiosus, from licentia 'freedom'.

Words that rhyme with licentious

conscientious, contentious, pretentious, sententious, tendentious
Definition of licentious in:
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.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Related Words