One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Excessive sensitivity or rapid reaction to stimulation of a part of the body, especially the sexual organs.
- ‘Erethism traditionally is seen in the chronic phase of the toxicity.’
- ‘The intense excitement of the events had no doubt left my perceptive powers in a state of erethism.’
- ‘The state we were in was a kind of mental eroticism, an erethism of the mind, akin to that inwardly directed state of arousal achieved by adepts of Tantric yoga.’
2A state of abnormal mental excitement or irritation.
- ‘But these are not worthy concerns, they are mere symptoms of a moral erethism (mental over-excitement).’
- ‘What are we to understand by this erethism of the brain?’
Early 19th century: from French éréthisme, from Greek erethismos, from erethizein ‘irritate’.
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