This glossary includes definitions of words used repeatedly in the documents, collected from multiple editions of several dictionaries: Cesar Pierre Richelet, French Dictionary (1680), Antoine Furetiere, Universal Dictionary (1690), Dictionary of the French Academy (1694), Universal French and Latin Dictionary (1704) known as the Dictionary of Trevoux Philibert Jacques LeRoux, Comical, Satirical, Critical, Burlesque, Licentious, and Proverbial Dictionary (1718). These definitions document conventional usage and linguistic changes over time. They also provide information about classical, biblical, and contemporary references and illustrate assumptions about men and women sexually involved with members of their own sex.
Used in the eighteenth century, not included in dictionaries until the 1771 edition of the Dictionary of Trevoux: “That which is against nature. Antiphysical love. See the epigrams of Rousseau.”
Bugger and Buggery
bougre or bougeron and bougrerie
Suggested, perhaps, by gestures made in parks and streets to communicate sexual messages, used in the eighteenth century, most commonly in phrases like “men of the cuff,” to identify males sexually attracted to and involved with other males, not included in dictionaries in this sense.
Proper noun from Greek mythology, used in a generic sense since the sixteenth century, identified and defined in the first edition of Richelet as a “young shepherd whom Jupiter abducted and made into his minion” and a “young bardash.” LeRoux, 1718, was more specific about the role: “Young boy who gives pleasure, who lets the sin of sodomy be committed on him.” Trevoux, 1771, was less specific about the age: “In the style of antiphysical love, man who serves the pleasures of another.”
Proper noun from the Satyricon of Petronius (first century), used in a generic sense in the eighteenth century, not included in dictionaries. Applied to the younger, passive partner in sexual relations between males, it commonly implied promiscuity and prostitution.
Dishonorable or disreputable, used in the eighteenth century in a more specific sense to identify males sexually attracted to and involved with other males. The first edition of Furetiere noted that it was applied to “everything that is not within the general approbation of men” and added that “people use it particularly in speaking about some vices.”
Proper noun derived from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos, home of the poet Sappho (b. c.650 B.C.), used infrequently in a generic sense as far back as the late sixteenth century, not included in dictionaries in this sense. According to the first edition of LeRoux, a variant (lesbin) of the even more uncommon masculine form of the word (lesbien) was synonymous with bardash.
Favorite, used since the reign of Henry III (1574-89) in a more specific sense to imply sexual relations as well as political influence. According to the first edition of Furetiere, it suggested favoritism “in matters either of friendship or of love. Most rulers have minions, favorites who control them.” The 1727 edition added that the word, applied to Henry Ill’s favorites, “implied something that is not very decent.”
Nonconformist and nonconformity
Pederast and Pederasty
pederaste or pederastie
Suggested by the relations of Greek philosophers with other males, used since the sixteenth century, most commonly to modify love or sin, not usually defined in dictionaries in this sense. Furetiere, 1727, reported that the Jesuits, who were commonly accused of minimizing the seriousness of the “philosophical sin,” declared that they detested it.
Derived from the name of Socrates (469-399 B.C.), the famous Greek philosopher, used in a generic sense in the eighteenth century, most commonly to modify love or morals, not included in dictionaries in this sense.
Sodomite, sodomize, and sodomy
sodomite or sodomiste, sodomiser, and sodomie
Trbade and tribadism
tribade and trbaderie
For additional definitions, please see the following books:
Courouve, Claude. Vocabulaire de l’homosexualité masculine. Paris: Payot, 1985.
Hennig, Jean Luc. Espadons, mignons & autres monstres: Vocabulaire de l’homosexualité masculine sous l’ancien régime. Paris: Cherche Midi, 2014.