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Coined by H. L. Mencken from ecdysis (moulting) (on the model of enthusiast etc.).


  • IPA(key): /ɛkˈdɪz.i.æst/
  • (file)


ecdysiast (plural ecdysiasts)

  1. (uncommon) An erotic dancer who removes their clothes as a form of entertainment; a stripper.
    • 1973, Kyril Bonfiglioli, Don't Point That Thing at Me, Penguin, published 2001, page 79:
      I had never seen an ecdysiast before; toward the end she was wearing nothing but seven beads, four of them sweat.
    • 2004, Chrysti the Wordsmith, Verbivore's Feast: A Banquet of Word and Phrase Origins, Farcountry Press, page 107:
      However, the Queen of Ecdysiasts, Gypsy Rose Lee, was not amused. In a 1940 interview, she leveled her guns against Mencken: "Ecdysiast, he calls me! Why, the man... has been reading books! Dictionaries! We don't wear feathers and molt them off... What does he know about stripping?"


Related terms[edit]