Definition of nympholepsy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnɪmfə(ʊ)ˌlɛpsi/


[mass noun] literary
1Passion aroused in men by beautiful young girls.
Example sentences
  • Humbert takes Lolita on an extraordinary journey across America so that he can continue to indulge his nympholepsy without having to worry that someone will discover the true nature of his relationship with Lolita.
  • Biographer Field notes that the theme of nympholepsy dates from 1928 in Nabokov’s poetry and 1938 in his prose.
  • He got away with it, as so many other Victorians got away with pederasty and nympholepsy.
2Wild frenzy caused by desire for an unattainable ideal.
Example sentences
  • The nympholepsy of some fond despair.
  • Focusing on the theme of nympholepsy, which Aiken defined as a desire for the unattainable, this work features dream-like visions of lamias and death and examines the elusiveness of love.


Late 18th century: from Greek numpholēptos 'caught by nymphs', from numphē 'nymph' and lambanein 'take hold of', on the pattern of epilepsy.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: nym¦pho|lepsy

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