This word is derived from the proper adjective Lesbian = 'belonging to the island of Lesbos' and has acquired its present day sense by association with the poet Sappho. The word lesbian was formerly applied to homosexual women as a cover word or euphemism, but it is now widely accepted as the term preferred by homosexual women themselves:

"All of us millions of lesbians and gay men were once American children." - Jean O'Leary and Bruce Voeller, New York Times

The original sense ('from Lesbos') has fallen out of use.

lesbian(adjective, lesbian): female homosexual, named after the Aegian island, Lesbos, whence came the homosexual woman poet, Sappho, of ancient Greece. There is no corresponding eponym for a homosexual or gay male.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

Almost a year ago, I agreed to take on this rescue for the CRT. After some consultation, it was agreed that a metanode was the best way to go. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! Writing a definitive metanode about lesbians has proved nearly impossible. There are just too many things to cover. It has taken me several months to come up with even a partial list, and longer to try to organize everything. I tried to write this in paragraph form – sort of a little lesbian summary – but it just didn’t work. Instead I give you the following categorized list, with some commentary. I have not covered everything that is already written, and there is plenty more to be written. Please continue to let me know what I should add to this list. Many thanks.

People, Places, and Things Lesbians and Men - It certainly doesn't sound like it should make sense, but it can.
Lesbians and the Media
Lesbians and Everything2 - Hey, who let them in here?!
Sex Stories Theories and Opinions Miscellaneous



For more than a couple of millenia, meant the inhabitant of the Greek island of Lesbos, male or female. For the last decades or so, primarily means women of homosexual orientation.

This has recently led inhabitants of Lesbos, Lesbians (with original meaning) to file a lawsuit against the Gay and Lesbian Community of Greece, saying that the use of the word by non-Lesbians has been causing them problems in their daily social life and that the term belongs to them, the generations upon generations of the Lesbos inhabitants and not to people of a particular sexual orientation who have nothing to do with the island.

The court rejected the demand of the inhabitants of Lesbos in July 2008.

Les"bi*an (les"bi*an), a.

Of or pertaining to the island anciently called Lesbos, now Mitylene, in the Grecian Archipelago.


© Webster 1913

Les"bi*an, a.

Amatory; erotic; -- in allusion to the reputed sensuality of the Lesbian people and literature; as, Lesbian novels.


© Webster 1913

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