Traditionally: a licentious person.
Actually: a man or woman believing that the free pursuit of sensual pleasure is the supreme moral principle.
Someone acting accordingly.

In the past a rather loaded word for a hedonist, and often mistakenly directed at intellectuals. Probably best put to use as a descriptive term (as opposed to an insult) by Albert Camus in The Rebel when describing the philosophical school of the Marquis de Sade.

Lib"er*tine (?), n. [L. libertinus freedman, from libertus one made free, fr. liber free: cf. F. libertin. See Liberal.]

1. Rom. Antiq.

A manumitted slave; a freedman; also, the son of a freedman.

2. Eccl. Hist.

One of a sect of Anabaptists, in the fifteenth and early part of the sixteenth century, who rejected many of the customs and decencies of life, and advocated a community of goods and of women.


One free from restraint; one who acts according to his impulses and desires; now, specifically, one who gives rein to lust; a rake; a debauchee.

Like a puffed and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. Shak.


A defamatory name for a freethinker.



© Webster 1913.

Lib"er*tine, a. [L. libertinus of a freedman: cf. F. libertin. See Libertine, n. ]


Free from restraint; uncontrolled.


You are too much libertine. Beau. & Fl.


Dissolute; licentious; profligate; loose in morals; as, libertine principles or manners.



© Webster 1913.

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