Definition of phallic in US English:



  • 1Relating to or resembling a phallus or erect penis.

    ‘a phallic symbol’
    • ‘Weapons carried by the gang are shaped into huge phallic symbols, demonstrating a sense of vigorous male power or animal instinct, manifested in behaviour like the marking of territory.’
    • ‘The last piece is Louise Bourgeois' Fillette, a phallic object combining male and female elements.’
    • ‘Shiva is also the god of fertility and is mostly worshipped in the phallic symbol called Linga.’
    • ‘If the sports car is considered some sort of phallic substitute or symbol, then the quad bike is equally emblematic.’
    • ‘Equally, the power of corporate towers is manifest in up-looking, phallic worship, and in the motherly (that is, custodial) surveillance of the world below.’
    1. 1.1Psychoanalysis Of or denoting the genital phase of psychosexual development, especially in males.
      • ‘If depression is warded off in phallic omnipotence and evacuated into the feminine part of the personality, we can formulate a psychoanalytic interpretation of Kreon's behaviour.’
      • ‘Freudian theory would suggest that the corporate cultures of these organizations often institutionalize various combinations of oral, phallic and genital sexuality.’
      • ‘Much of the tragedy of the story can be traced to the unhappy childhood of Luke and Leia; with their mother dead, Luke has no focus for his sexual desires during the phallic stage of his development.’
      • ‘When looking at the body of psychoanalytic literature dealing with perversions it becomes evident that today there is clearly fading support of the theory of phallic primacy.’
      • ‘We talk about sexual openness and sexual ambiguity, yet the current psychological ideal of phallic masculinity is as rigid and coercive as it ever was.’


Late 18th century: from French phallique, from Greek phallikos, from phallos (see phallus).