Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English venereal, venerealle (of or relating to sexual intercourse), from Latin venereus, venerius (of or relating to sexual love),[1] from Venus (Roman goddess of love)[2] (from Proto-Indo-European *wenh₁- (to love)) + -eus, -ius (suffix forming adjectives from nouns).



venereal (not comparable)

  1. Of or relating to the genitals or sexual intercourse.
    Synonyms: aphroditic, (rare) Cytherean
    • 1637, Tho[mas] Heywood, “Ivpiter and Io”, in Pleasant Dialogues and Dramma’s, Selected out of Lucian, Erasmus, Textor, Ovid, &c. [], London: [] R. O[ulton] for R. H[earne], and are to be sold by Thomas Slater [], →OCLC, page 170:
      Wouldſt thou not haue ſome Bulchin from the herd / To phyſicke thee of this venereall itch?
    • 1648, Alexander Ross, chapter XI, in Mystagogvs Poeticvs, or The Muses Interpreter: Explaining the Historicall Mysteries, and Mysticall Histories of the Ancient Greek and Latine Poets. [], 2nd edition, London: Printed by T. W. for Thomas Whitaker [], →OCLC, page 258:
      [B]ecauſe ſuch hot temperaments are prone to Venerie, hence the Poets feigned, that Mars lay with Venus; and withall to ſhew, how much ſouldiers are given to Venereall luſts; [...]
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes, []”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: [] J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], →OCLC, lines 533–535, page 37:
      Then ſwoll'n with pride into the ſnare I fell / Of fair, fallacious looks, venereal trains, / Softn'd with pleaſure and voluptuous life; [...]
  2. Of a disease: sexually transmitted; of or relating to, or adapted to the cure of, a venereal disease.
    Antonym: nonvenereal
    a venereal medicine
    • 1597, Don Richardo de Medico campo [pseudonym; Richard Lichfield], The Trimming of Thomas Nashe Gentleman, London: Printed [by Edward Allde] for Philip Scarlet, →OCLC; republished as J[ohn] P[ayne] C[ollier], editor, The Trimming of Thomas Nashe Gentleman (Miscellaneous Tracts, Temp. Eliz. & Jac. I), [London: s.n.], 1870, →OCLC, page 7:
      [...] I like not his countenance; I am afraid he labours of the venereall murre.
    • 1650, Alexander Read, “[A Treatise of Ulcers. The Second Treatise.] Lect[ure] III. Of the Generall Differences and Signes of Ulcers.”, in The Workes of that Famous Physitian Dr. Alexander Read, [], 2nd edition, London: Printed by E. G. for Richard Thrale, and are to be sold by Iohn Clarke [], →OCLC, page 88:
      [...] Who can imagine that in a venereall ulcer, wherein there is corruption of the bone, there ſhould be two ſorts of ulcers ſpecifically differing? to wit, one in the fleſhy part, and another in the bone, the ſame humor cauſing both.
    • 1913 December 20, “Health of the British Navy”, in The North-China Herald and Supreme Court & Consular Gazette: The Weekly Edition of the North-China Daily News, volume CIX (New Series), number 2419, Shanghai: Printed and published at the offices of the North-China Daily News & Herald, Ld., →OCLC, page 924, column 2:
      Venereal diseases were responsible for four deaths and 141 final invalidings, [...]
    • 1944 November, Thomas H. Sternberg; Granville W. Larimore, “Army Contributions to Postwar Venereal Disease Control Planning”, in Venereal Disease Control: Proceedings, National Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, November 1944 (Journal of Venereal Disease Information; supplement no. 20), Washington, D.C.: U.S. Public Health Service, Federal Security Agency; United States Government Printing Office, published 1945, →OCLC, page 23:
      [I]t must be recognized that there are two distinct and separate phases of venereal disease education: (1) the imparting to the individual of adequate technical knowledge of the venereal diseases and their prevention, and (2) the motivation of the individual with the will to avoid either illicit sexual intercourse or unprotected sexual exposure.
    • 2008, Peter Rees, “The Prelude”, in The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914–1918, Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, →ISBN; The Other Anzacs: The Extraordinary Story of Our World War I Nurses, paperback edition, Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2009, →ISBN, page 27:
      Within a fortnight of their arrival 'a startling outburst' of venereal disease occurred among the troops. Over the next four months more than 2000 Australian soldiers were infected.
  3. (astrology, obsolete) Pertaining to the astrological influence of the planet Venus; lascivious, lustful.
    Synonyms: libidinous, (informal) lusty, (obsolete) venereous; see also Thesaurus:randy
  4. (chemistry, obsolete) Of or relating to copper (formerly called Venus by alchemists).
    • 1602, S[amuel] R[owlands], “How a Citizen was Serued by a Curtizan”, in Greenes Ghost Havnting Conie-catchers. [], London: Printed [by Peter Short?] for R[oger] Iackson, and I. North, [], →OCLC; republished in The Complete Works of Samuel Rowlands: 1598–1628: Now First Collected, volume I, [Glasgow]: Printed [by R. Anderson] for the Hunterian Club, 1880, →OCLC, page 42:
      When after their beaſtly ſport and pleaſure Mounſieur Libid[inoſo] heat of luſt was ſomewhat aſſwaged, and ready to goe, féeling his pocket for a venereall remuneration [i.e., a copper coin] finds nothing but a Teſter, or at leaſt ſo little, that it was not ſufficient to pleaſe dame Pleaſure for her hire. [...] My Ladie would not beléeue Monſ. Libid. a great while, but ſearched and féeled for more coine, [...]

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ venereā̆l(le, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 21 January 2019.
  2. ^ venereal, adj. and n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1916; “venereal, adj.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]