Lesbianism is the practice of homosexuality by females. Nevertheless, the word homosexual refers to one who engages in sexual acts with a person of the same sex, whether man or woman. But males engaged in lovemaking with males have only one designation — homosexuals. On the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea during the earlier half of the sixth century lived the Greek poet Sappho. She became the leader of a group of women whose behavior was characterized by strong homosexual feelings. Hence from the name given this manifestation we have sapphism, an eponymous derivative from her name, and lesbianism, an eponymous derivative from her birthplace.
   Sappho (620-565 B.C.) was born at Mytilene or Eresus on the island of Lesbos. According to Ovid, the outstanding Roman poet, Sappho's father died when she was only six years old. It is believed that she married and had a daughter (some say a son). In any event, Sappho, the most famous female poet of her time, wrote her poems on Lesbos and gathered women there to teach them the art of poetry. Whether her followers engaged in sexual love has never been proved any more than that her followers of today are interested in poetry. Sappho's passionate lyrics, especially the poem in which she pleaded with Aphrodite to help her arouse ardor in a certain woman, have given fodder to those convinced of her homosexuality. But only fragments of her vibrant poems have survived, some in mere scraps.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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  • lesbian — LESBIÁN, Ă, lesbieni, e, subst., adj. 1. s.m. şi f. Persoană care face parte din populaţia de bază a insulei Lesbos sau este originară de acolo. 2. adj. Care aparţine Lesbosului sau populaţiei lui, privitor la Lesbos sau la populaţia lui. 3. s.f …   Dicționar Român

  • Lesbian — Les bi*an (l[e^]z b[i^]*an), a. 1. Of or pertaining to the island anciently called Lesbos, now Mitylene, in the Grecian Archipelago. [1913 Webster] 2. Amatory; erotic; in allusion to the reputed sensuality of the Lesbian people and literature; as …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lesbian — (adj.) 1590s, pertaining to the island of Lesbos, from L. Lesbius, from Gk. lesbios of Lesbos, Greek island in northeastern Aegean Sea (the name originally may have meant wooded ), home of Sappho, great lyric poet whose erotic and romantic verse… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Lesbian — Les bi*an (l[e^]z b[i^]*an), n. a female homosexual. Syn: dyke[vulgar, deprecatory]. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lesbian — ► NOUN ▪ a homosexual woman. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ referring to lesbians or lesbianism. DERIVATIVES lesbianism noun. ORIGIN from Lesbos, Greek island and home of Sappho (early 7th century BC), who expressed affection for women in her poetry …   English terms dictionary

  • lesbian — [lez′bē ən] adj. [L Lesbius < Gr Lesbios] 1. [L ] of Lesbos or its people or cultureof Lesbos or its people or culture 2. [from the eroticism or homosexuality attributed to Sappho and her followers in Lesbos] [sometimes L ] a) of homosexuality …   English World dictionary

  • Lesbian — This article is about the sexual orientation. For other uses, see Lesbian (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • lesbian — 01. Diane has been in a [lesbian] relationship with her partner for three years. 02. Rachel was married for a number of years before realizing she was, in fact, a [lesbian]. 03. [Lesbian] couples and gay couples have the same rights and… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • lesbian — [[t]le̱zbiən[/t]] ♦♦♦ lesbians 1) ADJ Lesbian is used to describe homosexual women. Many of her best friends were lesbian. N COUNT A lesbian is a woman who is lesbian. ...a youth group for lesbians, gays and bisexuals. 2) ADJ Lesbian is used to… …   English dictionary

  • lesbian — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun ADJECTIVE ▪ butch ▪ femme, lipstick ▪ out ▪ She s an out lesbian. ▪ closet …   Collocations dictionary

  • lesbian — UK [ˈlezbɪən] / US noun [countable] Word forms lesbian : singular lesbian plural lesbians a woman who is sexually attracted to women. You can describe men or women who are sexually attracted to members of the same sex as gay or homosexual.… …   English dictionary

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