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Priapus +‎ -ic, from Ancient Greek πριαπισμός (priapismós, erection), derived from Πρίαπος (Príapos), a god of procreation pictured with an erect phallus in Greek mythology.


  • IPA(key): /pɹaɪˈæpɪk/, /pɹaɪˈeɪpɪk/


priapic (comparative more priapic, superlative most priapic)

  1. Phallic. [from 1786]
    Synonym: phallic
    • 1826: A General and Bibliographical Dictionary of the Fine Arts by James Elmes
      The only relic of the temple of Isis is a priapic goblet; from the spout of which it is plain that the votaries must have quaffed the wine.
  2. Related to or overly concerned with male sexual activity or exhibiting excessive male sexual activity.
    • 2017 October 1, “A portrait of the artists as a pair of young wastrels”, in Standpoint Magazine[1]:
      Both artists were charming, shameless and cruel, and revelled in what Bacon called an “atmosphere of threat”. Often on the run or hiding out, they led priapic private lives: Bacon was homosexual, Freud hetero.
    • 2017 September 30, Ross Douthat, “Speaking Ill of Hugh Hefner”, in New York Times[2]:
      And in every way that mattered his life story proved that we were wrong to listen to him, because at the end of the long slide lay only a degraded, priapic senility, or the desperate gaiety of Prince Prospero’s court with the Red Death at the door.
    • 2018 January 29, Jason Horowitz, “Berlusconi Is Back. Again. This Time, as Italy’s ‘Nonno’”, in New York Times[3]:
      But despite his waxworks appearance, pre-Weinsteinian penchant for priapic innuendo and lingering criminal trials, Mr. Berlusconi, a former Italian prime minister, is no longer the joke of European politics.
  3. Excessively masculine; excessively concerned with masculinity.
    Synonym: virile
    • 2014 August 23, “Travails of a modern city”, in The Economist[4]:
      Gabriele D’Annunzio, a priapic, drug-addicted poet, war hero, military adventurer and man about town, was a mesmeric figure who encouraged triumphalism in Italy’s nationalist right-wingers.

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