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From Ancient Greek παιδοφιλία (paidophilía), from παιδόφιλος (paidóphilos), from παῖς (paîs, boy, child) and φιλέω (philéō, I love). Equivalent to pedo- +‎ -philia.



pedophilia (countable and uncountable, plural pedophilias)

  1. Sexual feelings or desires by adults towards minors.
  2. (medicine, more strictly) Sexual attraction by adults and older adolescents towards prepubescent children.[1]
    • 2004, Ronald J. Comer, Fundamentals of abnormal psychology, page 341:
      Some people with pedophilia are attracted only to children; others are attracted to adults as well (APA, 2000, 1994).
    • 2007, Margaret Mary Wright, Judicial decision making in child sexual abuse cases, page 122:
      As noted earlier, pedophilia was cited as both an aggravating and a mitigating circumstance by trial judges, as was the absence of pedophilia.
    • 2009, Ann Kring, Sheri Johnson, Gerald C. Davison, Abnormal Psychology:
      Sometimes a man with pedophilia is content to stroke the child's hair, but he may also manipulate the child's genitalia, [...]
  3. Sexual activity between adults and (prepubescent) children.
    • 1998, Andrew L. Kaufman, Cardozo (ISBN 0674096452), page 25:
      Fifteen months later, a committee of the congregation found that he had sexually abused several boys within the congregation. [] The fact that Alger committed pedophilia at the age of thirty-four casts a shadow over his subsequent yearning for relationships with boys and young men, but there is no evidence of any later misconduct.
    • 2005, Carol Weiss Lewis, Stuart Gilman, The ethics challenge in public service: a problem-solving guide, page 88:
      Entire books have been written about the role of scandal in US politics (Garment, 1992). Offenses include smoking marijuana, hiring illegal aliens, plagiarizing, sexually harassing others, engaging in pedophilia, [...]
    • 2009, Nancy Cavender, Howard Kahane, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life, page 309:
      It's quite another (a bad idea) to expect amateurs to figure out who is telling the truth about Iraq, or which priests have committed pedophilia.

Usage note[edit]

  • Many psychologists recommend against using the term pedophilia to denote sexual activities with children, because not all people with a sexual preference for prepubescent children (i.e., pedophilia) commit such acts, and child molesters often lack a strong sexual interest in prepubescent children.[2][3] Furthermore, psychological texts define pedophilia as a preference for specifically prepubescent children;[4] preferential attraction to older children is known as hebephilia or ephebophilia. See Wikipedia for more information.



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Seto, Michael (2008). Pedophilia and Sexual Offending Against Children. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. p. vii.
  3. ^ Lanning, Kenneth V. (2010). Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis (fifth ed.). National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. pp. 29–30 (45–46 of PDF).
  4. ^ American Psychiatric Association, ed. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing. p. 697.