In general use, "lascivious" is synonymous with "lustful" or lewd.

Legal usage

In American legal jargon, "lascivious" is a semi-technical term indicating immoral sexual thoughts or actions. It is often used in the legal description of criminal acts in which some sort of sexual activity is prohibited to differentiate that activity from "innocent" conduct. It is often used as one of several adjectives to describe pornography as compared to non-pornographic depictions of sex or sexual themes.

In US law consider for example prohibition of mailing lascivious matter:

"Every obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy or vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance... [i] s declared to be nonmailable matter and shall not be conveyed in the mails or delivered from any post office or by any letter carrier." [usc|18|1461, interpreted in "Manual Enterprises, Inc. v. Day", Findlaw us|370|478, 482-484 (1962).]

"Lascivious" is not limited to pornography, however. For example,"lascivious cohabitation" refers to a mostly archaic crime of living with a member of the opposite sex, and having sexual intercourse with him or her without first entering a legal or religious marriage. ["See e.g. Swearingen v. U.S.", Findlaw us|161|446.]

Similar legal topics include obscenity.


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  • lascivious — las·civ·i·ous /lə si vē əs/ adj: reflecting or producing sexual desire or behavior esp. that is considered indecent or obscene lewd and lascivious behavior Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • Lascivious — Las*civ i*ous (l[a^]s*s[i^]v [i^]*[u^]s), a. [L. lascivia wantonness, fr. lascivus wanton; cf. Gr. la stauros lecherous, lh^n to wish, Skr. lash to desire.] 1. Wanton; lewd; lustful; as, lascivious men; lascivious desires. Milton. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lascivious — (adj.) mid 15c., from M.Fr. lascivieux or directly from L.L. lasciviosus (used in a scolding sense by Isidore and other early Church writers), from L. lascivia lewdness, playfulness, frolicsomeness, jolity, from lascivus lewd, playful, frolicsome …   Etymology dictionary

  • lascivious — lewd, *licentious, libertine, lustful, libidinous, lecherous, wanton Analogous words: *immoral, unmoral, amoral: sensual, *carnal, fleshly, animal: obscene, gross, *coarse Contrasted words: *chaste, pure, modest, decent: virtuous, * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • lascivious — [adj] sexually aroused; displaying excessive interest in sex bawdy, blue, bodily, carnal, coarse, crude, evil minded, fast*, fleshly, gross*, hard core*, hot*, immoral, incontinent, indecent, lecherous, lewd, libertine, libidinous, licentious,… …   New thesaurus

  • lascivious — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ feeling or showing an overt or offensive sexual desire. DERIVATIVES lasciviously adverb lasciviousness noun. ORIGIN from Latin lascivia lustfulness …   English terms dictionary

  • lascivious — [lə siv′ē əs] adj. [ME lascyuyous < ML lasciviosus < LL < L lascivia, wantonness < lascivus: see LUST] 1. characterized by or expressing lust or lewdness; wanton 2. tending to excite lustful desires lasciviously adv. lasciviousness n …   English World dictionary

  • lascivious — lasciviously, adv. lasciviousness, n. /leuh siv ee euhs/, adj. 1. inclined to lustfulness; wanton; lewd: a lascivious, girl chasing old man. 2. arousing sexual desire: lascivious photographs. 3. indicating sexual interest or expressive of lust or …   Universalium

  • lascivious — [[t]ləsɪ̱viəs[/t]] ADJ GRADED (disapproval) If you describe someone as lascivious, you disapprove of them because they show a very strong interest in sex. The man was lascivious, sexually perverted and insatiable. ...their lewd and lascivious… …   English dictionary

  • lascivious — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) adj. lustful, lewd, salacious, unchaste, wanton. See impurity. II (Roget s IV) modif. 1. [Filled with lust] Syn. lecherous, lustful, libidinous; see lewd 1 , 2 , sensual . 2. [Suggestive of intercourse]… …   English dictionary for students

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