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From Middle English fornicacioun, from Old French fornicacion, from Latin fornicātiō, from fornix (brothel).



fornication (countable and uncountable, plural fornications)

  1. Sexual intercourse, especially on the part of an unmarried person.
  2. (law) The act of such illicit sexual intercourse between a man and a woman which does not by law amount to adultery.
    • 1589 or 90, Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta, Act IV:
      FRIAR BARNARDINE. Thou hast committed—
      BARABAS. Fornication: but that was in another country;
      And besides, the wench is dead.
    • 1604, William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act V, Scene 1:
      I am the sister of one Claudio,
      Condemned upon the act of fornication
      To lose his head, condemned by Angelo
    • 1611, King James Version, Galatians 5:19–21:
      Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


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