nymphet n : a sexually attractive young woman
A sexually attractive girl or young woman
- French: nymphette
- Swedish: lammkött (slang)
A nymphet is seen to be a sexually precocious, attractive girl, and was notably used by French author Pierre de Ronsard, and popularised by Vladimir Nabokov in the novel Lolita. In Lolita, protagonist Humbert Humbert uses it to describe the 9-14-year-old girls to whom he is attracted. In today's popular press the term is sometimes applied to women in their late teens or early twenties.
LolitaThe archetypal nymphet is the character Lolita of Vladimir Nabokov's novel. Nabokov, in the voice of his narrator Humbert, first describes these nymphets in the following passage:
For Humbert, a nymphet is in the earliest stages of puberty - "The bud-stage of breast development appears early (10.7 years)". When he meets a streetwalker of 18, he considers her no longer a nymphet, although her body is still in some ways childlike.
FaunletThe term faunlet, also coined by Nabokov and used by Humbert Humbert, is used to describe the young male counterpart of a nymphet, in the same way that the mythological fauns were the counterpart of the nymphs. The term appears in the novel twice:
NympholeptNabokov borrowed the term nympholept, a rare, archaic term meaning a person seized by emotional frenzy, as if enchanted by nymphs. The word is found with this meaning in the poetry of Lord Byron: "The nympholepsy of some fond despair."
Nabokov used the word to describe one who could "discern" nymphets from other girls. In Humbert's own words:
- Constructions of Childhood in Art and Media: Sexualized Innocence, Alexandra Wood.
- Little Deadly Demons: Nymphets, sexuality and a North American girl-child, Dawson, Kellie, American Sexuality Magazine.
- Lola! Lola! Lola!, by Jascha Kessler in the California Literary Review, March 2007
nymphet in French: Nymphette
nymphet in Korean: 님펫
nymphet in Japanese: ニンフェット
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