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Definition: An urge to look at sexually-explicit, obscene, lewd, (etc.) pictures.

Pronunciation: graffoh-LANNEE-ya


There’s hardly any history available online for this word. I found it a few years ago written on a list, printed in a heavy old book, but I’ve not seen it anywhere since.

What I do know, however, is that the suffix stem of -agnia is Greek influenced Latin indicating a sexual predilection for the combining body root of the word. (Other permutations of this suffix include -lagny, -lagnia, and -lagnic.)

Why this word?

Honestly, when I found this word, I had no idea it meant what it did. Visually, it didn’t look as though it would mean anything “obscene”.

But, in the present, I gleefully embrace this term’s meaning. What can I say? Tom Lehrer explained it best– “I do have a cause, though. It is: Obscenity. I’m for it.”

The lyrics of his satirical song “Smut” make the perfect anthem for this word, too. Some of my favorites: “Novels that pander to my taste for candor give me a pleasure sublime! Let’s face it; I love slime. All books can be indecent! Books, though recent, books are bolder! For filth, I’m glad to say, is in the mind of the beholder! When correctly viewed, everything is lewd. I can tell you things about Peter Pan! And the Wizard of Oz? There’s a dirty old man!”

How would you use the word Grapholagnia in a sentence?

“Billy’s grapholagnic tendencies proved themselves early. Either he’s destined to grow up to become a bonafide creep or the world’s most accepting and trusted sexual health therapist the modern world has ever seen.”


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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.


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