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


  • IPA(key): /pɹəˈmɪskjuːəs/
  • (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, Paradise Lost, Book 1, ll. 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: A Study of Provincial Life, volume I, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood and Sons, OCLC 948783829, book I (Miss Brooke), 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. (derogatory) Indiscriminate in choice of sexual partners, or having many sexual partners.
  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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