One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The brief loss or weakening of consciousness. Now: specifically the sensation of orgasm as likened to death; an orgasm. Compare little death.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), novelist and poet. From French petite mort fainting fit, nervous spasm, orgasm from petite, feminine of petit + mort death.
petite mort/pəˌtiːt ˈmɔː/
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