Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A boy who has a sexual relationship with a man.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The junior partner in a paederastic relationship.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A boy kept for unnatural purposes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A boy kept for unnatural purposes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a boy who submits to a sexual relationship with a man

Etymologies

Latin catamītus, from Catamītus, Ganymede, from Etruscan Catmite, from Greek Ganumēdēs.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in English in 1593: from Latin Catamītus, from Etruscan Catmite, from Ancient Greek Γανυμήδης (Ganumḗdēs, "Ganymede"); in Greek mythology, an attractive Trojan boy abducted to Mount Ólympos by the god Zeus to become his cupbearer and, later, his lover. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Shevek's comment still makes me laugh out loud, as my roommate just found out.

    December 2, 2012

  • From "C. Musonius Rufus" by Guy Davenport

    January 19, 2010

  • Came across it in Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"

    November 8, 2009

  • the etymology lends a bizarre significance to The Ganymede Club for gentlemen's personal gentlemen

    October 29, 2009

  • I was reading Mary Stewart's Merlin series and had to look up catamite. Now I have yet another word in my insult arsenal. Maybe cornhobble could also mean to slap a person in the fact with a word they don't know?

    March 29, 2009

  • I came across it in Anthony Burgess' novel Earthly Powers.

    February 9, 2009

  • 'The word catamite is derived from the Latin catamitus, itself borrowed from the Etruscan catmite, a corruption of the Greek Ganymedes, the boy who was seduced by Zeus and became his beloved and cup-bearer in Greek mythology'. -- Wikipedia

    I encountered this word in the Libertine play, 'The Farce of Sodom, or, the Quintessence of Debauchery'. In the list of 'dramatis personae', the character of Pockenello is described as 'Pimp, Catamite, and the King's Favourite'.

    February 9, 2009

  • I have a fun story for this word: my friend Kevin and I always used to IM insults at each other whenever we were online at the same time. I'd recently read a book where this word popped up (something nautical, I think, not that it matters) and so I sent it his way. He was, shocking as it may seem, very angry. He was a big egotistical know-it-all though, so it was probably more from the fact that he had to look it up, than the insult itself. Well, maybe it was a tie...

    October 17, 2008

  • Second definition: WeirdNet!

    July 28, 2008

  • Sounds like this is right up there with marmite.

    July 20, 2008

  • I asked him what he thought of the charge of pederasty brought against the bard. He lifted his hands and said: All we can say is that life ran very high in those days. Lovely!

    Catamite.

    -- The sense of beauty leads us astray, said beautifulinsadness Best to ugling Eglinton.

    Joyce, Ulysses, 9

    January 6, 2007

  • Ogged was a prodigious catamite.

    December 10, 2006