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From Latin concupiscentia, from concupīscō (I desire strongly, I desire eagerly; I covet).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /kənˈkjuːpɪsəns/
  • (file)


concupiscence (countable and uncountable, plural concupiscences)

  1. An ardent desire, especially sexual desire; lust.
    • 1571, Arthur Golding, “To the Right Honorable and His Verie Good Lord Edward de Vere Erle of Oxinford, []”, in John Calvin, translated by Arthur Golding, The Psalmes of Dauid and Others. VVith M. Iohn Caluin’s Commentaries, London: [] Thomas East and Henry Middelton; for Lucas Harison, and G[e]orge Byshop, →OCLC, 1st part, folio iiij, recto:
      [Y]it haue vvee one thing in our ſelues and of our ſelues, (euen originall ſinne, concupiſcence or luſt) vvhich neuer ceaſeth too egge vs and allure vs from God, and too ſtaine vs vvith all kinde of vnclennes: []
    • 1662, Jacques Olivier, translated by Richard Banke, A Discourse of Women, Shewing Their Imperfections Alphabetically, →OCLC, page 5:
      for as St. Jerome observes, it is to shew that the true Christian not setting his heart upon the goods of the Earth, ought to trample under foot, all Avarice and immoderate concupiscence of corruptible riches: []
    • 1888 September 29, Henry James, “[The Aspern Papers.] Chapter IX.”, in The Aspern Papers; Louisa Pallant; The Modern Warning, London, New York, N.Y.: Macmillan and Co., →OCLC, pages 135–136:
      Poor Miss Tita's sense of her failure had produced an extraordinary alteration in her, but I had been too full of my literary concupiscence to think of that. Now I perceived it; I can scarcely tell how it startled me.
    • 1973, Rex Stout, Please Pass the Guilt:
      He was torn by two intense and conflicting desires: his ardent wish to advance through his association with Mr. Browning, and his concupiscence.
    • 1994, Newsweek, winter:
      Skaters, spinning like atoms across fields of pure light, are desirable in a way that transcends mere concupiscence; they inhabit another element, and the man who would try to catch one risks, literally, falling on his ass.
    • 1997, St. Augustine, The Confessions, X, 30, 41. translated by Maria Boulding:
      Quite certainly you command me to refrain from concupiscence of the flesh and concupiscence of the eyes and worldy pride.
    • 2001, Salman Rushdie, Fury: A Novel, London: Jonathan Cape, →ISBN, page 6:
      America insulted the rest of the planet, thought Malik Solanka in his old-fashioned way, by treating such bounty with the shoulder-shrugging casualness of the inequitably wealthy. But New York in this time of plenty had become the object and goal of the world’s concupiscence and lust, and the “insult” only made the rest of the planet more desirous than ever.
  2. (Roman Catholicism) the desire of a person's lower appetite, contrary to reason, which subjugates and inclines them to experience temptation and to give in to sin, due to the Fall and original sin.
    • 1927, Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Book V, section 1, page 147:
      [“]Since concupiscence is the most common form of temptation, it is better for him to know something about it. The soul cannot be humbled by fasts and prayer; it must be broken by mortal sin to experience forgiveness of sin and rise to a state of grace. Otherwise, religion is nothing but dead logic.”

Related terms[edit]




From Latin concupiscentia, from concupīscō (to desire strongly, to desire eagerly; to covet).


  • IPA(key): /kɔ̃.ky.pi.sɑ̃s/


concupiscence f (uncountable)

  1. concupiscence

Further reading[edit]