Definition of sadism in English:



  • 1The tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.

    • ‘Whether or not you buy such arguments, it's clear that the issues of cinematic sadism and spectator pleasure/complicity are far from settled.’
    • ‘Lynchings, so often overtly sexual in their sadism, also betray profound economic anxieties.’
    • ‘‘There is no room in my life for drugs, fights, divorce, adultery, sadism, unnecessary fuss and sex,’ he says now.’
    • ‘At the same time, Freudian psychoanalysis offers an understanding of the formations of sadism and masochism as complementary and vacillating.’
    • ‘Algolagnia is a psychiatric term covering sadism and masochism.’
    • ‘His cavalier endorsement of sadism and sexual abuse for ‘emotional release’ counts as hate under any reasonable definition of the word.’
    • ‘There would be clear evidence of sexual sadism in terms of fantasies, urges, history, and behavior in these cases.’
    • ‘As the philosopher points out, ‘There is an aestheticism in masochism, while sadism is hostile to the aesthetic attitude.’’
    • ‘Man Ray's dalliance with sadism and masochism took place primarily on the theoretical level.’
    • ‘This belief illuminates the fact that the exercise of such sadism and humiliation is a fundamentally political act.’
    • ‘It features scenes of extreme sexual sadism and hardcore bondage as well as graphic depictions of rape.’
    • ‘This showed that CPA was an effective agent in the treatment of very severe paraphilias, in this case sexual sadism and pedophilia that resulted in a sexually motivated homicide.’
    • ‘As Sarkar says, the incitement to violence is suffused with anxiety about virility, and the treatment of women seems to enact a fantasy of sexual sadism far darker than mere revenge.’
    • ‘In addition, it is the treatment of choice for the most serious sexual deviations, such as sexual sadism.’
    • ‘Psychopathic individuals are not actually linked to sadism, so they don't actually enjoy inflicting pain.’
    • ‘Deviant sexual preference as measured by sexual arousal tests may show evidence of a deviation, but no evidence of severe paraphilias such as sexual sadism.’
    • ‘The sexual sadism of Use Koch haunts Semprun's tale, and it seems that both aspects of Koonz's speculation are in play here.’
    • ‘Yet this scenario of male sadism and necrophiliac fetishism, this duality of adoration and humiliation does not feel quite right.’
    • ‘Essentially, Roman and I are both dominants, but we're dominants who like to play with sadism / masochism in the context of our sexual relationship.’
    • ‘They include auto-mutilation of her genitals with a razor, voyeurism, taking sexual pleasure in urination, sadism, and masochism.’
    callousness, barbarity, bestiality, perversion, viciousness, brutality, cruelty, savagery, fiendishness, cold-bloodedness, inhumanity, ruthlessness, heartlessness, mercilessness, pitilessness
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    1. 1.1 (in general use) deliberate cruelty.
      • ‘Many have called what the attorney general is doing as bureaucratic sadism.’
      • ‘Whilst nowhere near the level of violence and sadism that characterised The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes is still an astonishingly brutal film.’
      • ‘And just like drug addicts, they need larger and larger doses of sadism and brutality in order to remain high.’
      • ‘I think that's reflected in the sadism and brutality of our pop culture.’
      • ‘What follows is a litany of deceit, double-crosses, sadism, crimes, cruelty and surprises along the way.’
      • ‘What makes today's anthrax cases distinctly threatening is not the sadism and criminality of the attacks.’
      • ‘Most of the reactions have focused on the astonishing sadism and violence.’
      • ‘They are a testimony to the beastly brutality and sadism that characterised the Nazi era.’
      • ‘SageNZ seems to think that rape, serious assaults, and systematic brutality and sadism are all necessary parts of military culture, and vital to the defence of the country.’
      • ‘People can become monsters in these circumstances, which invite atrocities and license sadism and gratuitous cruelty.’
      • ‘The Order was founded to collect bright children from the feckless lower orders, and propel them into the middle class by rigorous learning and by rote, enforced by brutality bordering on sadism.’
      • ‘The result is a rising tide of neglect, cruelty, sadism, and joyous malignity that staggers and appalls me.’
      • ‘Mel Gibson's movie about the torture and agony of the final hours of Jesus is the bloodiest, most brutal example of sustained sadism ever presented on the screen.’
      • ‘Brutal sadism is not a state of mind exclusive to men made bad by ethnic cleansing - it is the horribly ordinary condition of militarised men made monstrous by war.’


Late 19th century: from French sadisme, from the name of the Marquis de Sade, Comte de.