Origin of onanism
- After Onan , son of Judah (Genesis 38:9)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From the biblical name Onan: In the Book of Genesis, Onan, son of Judah, in fulfillment of the laws of levirate marriage was to impregnate his brother Er's widow, Tamar, in order to raise offspring from the union in his brother's name. In order to avoid raising descendants for his late brother, however, Onan spilled his semen on the ground when he went in to his brother's wife, so that he would not give offspring to his brother. (Genesis 38:9). Thus the word Onanism was coined, meaning ejaculating outside the vagina, or masturbation (because this also spills semen, rather than using it for procreation).