Definitiononania , dated term for:
1. Masturbation. In his Onanism: or Treatise upon the Disorders Produced by Masturbation (1766), A. Hume warns the reader that the perverse and degenerate practice of onania can cause insanity, deafness, blindness, hairy palms, and withering away of the penis. See masturbation for synonyms.
ETYMOLOGY: From a passage in the the Old Testament (Genesis 38:9-10) in which Onan, son of Judah, is required by Levirate law to marry the childless widow of his deceased brother Er in order to provide a son to continue Er's lineage and inherit his property. Onan went to his brothers widow and ' spilled his seed on the ground ' rather than impregnate her. Theologians of the 18 th century misinterpreted the story of Onan as a condemnation not only of withdrawal but also of masturbation.