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From Latin prōmiscuus (mixed, not separated), from prō (forth) + misceō (mix).


  • IPA(key): /pɹəˈmɪs.kju.əs/
  • (file)


promiscuous (comparative more promiscuous, superlative most promiscuous)

  1. Made up of various disparate elements mixed together; of disorderly composition.
    Synonym: motley
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 379-80:
      Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, / While the promiscuous croud stood yet aloof.
    • 1871, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], chapter I, in Middlemarch [], volume I, Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, →OCLC, book I, page 4:
      [T]hey had both been educated [...] on plans at once narrow and promiscuous, first in an English family and afterwards in a Swiss family at Lausanne, their bachelor uncle and guardian trying in this way to remedy the disadvantages of their orphaned condition.
  2. Made without careful choice; indiscriminate.
    A sail caught by a promiscuous wind.
  3. Having many sexual partners, especially if indiscriminate in choosing said sexual partners.
    • 2023, Parliament of Singapore, “Women’s Charter (Family Violence and Other Matters) (Amendment) Bill”, in Republic of Singapore Government Gazette[1], page 5:
      X spreads false rumours to third parties about X’s spouse being promiscuous. X’s spouse finds out about the rumours and is distressed. X has committed emotional or psychological abuse against X’s spouse.
  4. (networking) The mode in which an NIC gathers all network traffic instead of getting only the traffic intended for it.

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