In computer networking, "promiscuous" describes the mode in which an ethernet adapter captures all packets, regardless of their destination address. Sniffers put network cards into this mode, and some system administrators use utilities that periodically check all network interfaces. If an interface is promiscuous, it is highly probable that a sniffer has been installed.

In a sexual context this means only one thing: That man is promiscuous means that he has or desires frequent sex with a variety of partners. This a synonym for Sexually promiscuous.

Note that Sexually promiscuous does not mean "has lots of sex". A person could be happly married and have loads of sex, but would not be at all promiscuous. Quite the opposite.

However, promiscuous is not an exclusively sexual word, despite the preponderance of modern usage. But then, the preponderance of modern human interest is sexual.

The word's meaning is simply derived from the sum of its parts:
Pro: In favour of, exhibiting the caracteristic of
miscuous: pertaining to mixing.

Thus, anything that mixes a lot or is indiscriminate with whom it mixes is promiscuous, such as a promiscuous network card which reads packets irrespective of origin.

Pro*mis"cu*ous (?), a. [L. promiscuus; pro before, in place of, for + miscere to mix. See Mix. ]

1.

Consisting of individuals united in a body or mass without order; mingled; confused; undistinguished; as, a promiscuous crowd or mass.

A wild, where weeds and flowers promiscuous shoot. Pope.

2.

Distributed or applied without order or discrimination; not restricted to an individual; common; indiscriminate; as, promiscuous love or intercourse.

 

© Webster 1913.

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