AskDefine | Define playboy

Dictionary Definition

playboy n : a man devoted to the pursuit of pleasure [syn: man-about-town, Corinthian]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Playboy



  1. A rich man who does not work, but devotes himself to a life of sexual pleasure without commitments or responsibilities.
    Bruce Wayne pretends to be a playboy so no one realizes he is Batman.


Extensive Definition

Playboy is an American men's magazine, founded in Chicago, Illinois by Hugh Hefner and his associates, which has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., reaching into every form of media. Playboy is one of the world's best known brands. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.
The magazine is monthly and features photographs of nude women, with articles on fashion, sports, consumer goods, and public figures. It also has short fiction by writers such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, and Margaret Atwood. The magazine is known to express liberal opinions on most major political issues. Playboy's use of "tasteful" nude photos is classified as "softcore" in contrast to the more "hardcore" pornographic magazines that started to appear in the 1970s in response to the success of Playboys more explicit rival, Penthouse.


Playboys original title was to be Stag Party, but an unrelated outdoor magazine, Stag, contacted Hefner and informed him that they would protect their trademark if he were to launch his magazine with that name. Hefner and co-founder and executive vice-president Eldon Sellers met to seek a new name. Sellers, whose mother had worked for the Chicago sales office of the short-lived Playboy Automobile Company, suggested "Playboy."
The first issue, in December 1953, was undated, as Hefner was unsure there would be a second. He produced it in his Hyde Park kitchen. The first centerfold was Marilyn Monroe, although the picture used originally was taken for a calendar rather than for Playboy. The first issue sold out in weeks. Known circulation was 53,991. The cover price was 50¢. Copies of the first issue in mint to near mint condition sold for over $5,000 in 2002.
The logo, the stylized profile of a rabbit wearing a tuxedo bow tie, was designed by art designer Art Paul for the second issue and has appeared ever since. A running joke in the magazine involves hiding the logo somewhere in the cover art or photograph. Hefner said he chose the rabbit for its "humorous sexual connotation," and because the image was "frisky and playful."
An urban legend started about Hefner and the Playmate of the Month because of markings on the front covers of the magazine. From 1955 to 1979 (except for a six month gap in 1976), the "P" in Playboy had stars printed in or around the letter. The legend stated that this was either a rating that Hefner gave to the Playmate according to how attractive she was, the number of times that Hefner had slept with her, or how good she was in bed. The stars, between zero and twelve, actually indicated the domestic or international advertising region for that printing.
Since reaching its peak in the 1970s, Playboy has seen a decline in circulation and cultural relevance because of competition in the field it founded — first from Penthouse, Oui (which was published as a spin-off of Playboy) and Gallery in the 1970s; later from pornographic videos; and more recently from lad mags such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. In response, Playboy has attempted to re-assert its hold on the 18–35 male demographic lled through slight changes to content and focusing on issues and personalities more appropriate to its audience — such as hip-hop artists being featured in the "Playboy Interview".
The magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary with the January 2004 issue. Celebrations were held at Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, and Moscow during the year to commemorate this event.

The Playboy Interview

Besides its centerfold, a major part of Playboy for much of its existence has been the Playboy Interview, an extensive (usually several thousand-word) Q&A-style discussion between a notable individual and an interviewer (historian Alex Haley, for example, served as a Playboy interviewer on a few occasions; one of his interviews was with Martin Luther King Jr.). One of the magazine's most notable interviews was a discussion with then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in the November 1976 issue in which he stated "I've committed adultery in my heart many times." David Sheff's interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared in the January 1981 issue, which was on newsstands at the time of Lennon's murder; the interview was later published in book format.


The best-selling Playboy edition was the November 1972 edition, which sold 7,161,561 copies. One-quarter of all American college men were buying the magazine every month. On the cover was model Pam Rawlings, photographed by Rowland Scherman.
Perhaps coincidentally, a cropped image of the issue's centerfold (which featured Lena Soderberg) became a de facto standard image for testing image processing algorithms. It is known simply as the "Lenna" (also "Lena") image in that field.
Playboy is still the largest selling men's magazine, selling about three million a month in the U.S.
In 1986, the American convenience store chain 7-Eleven removed the magazine. The store returned Playboy to its shelves in late 2003. 7-Eleven had also been selling Penthouse and other, more extreme, magazines before the ban.
In bookstores throughout the world, it is common for Playboy, as well as other adult publications, to be put on a higher shelf than other magazines, keeping them out of the reach of children. They are also often wrapped in opaque plastic bags so as to not reveal the cover.
Playboy was not sold in the state of Queensland, Australia during 2004 and 2005 but has returned as of 2006. Furthermore, due to declining sales, the last edition of the Australian edition of Playboy was January 2000 .


On the January 14, 2004, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Playboy Enterprises Inc.'s (PEI) trademark terms "Playboy" and "Playmate" should be protected even in Internet searches that prompt pop-up advertisements. The suit started on April 15, 1999, when Playboy sued Excite Inc. and Netscape for trademark infringement. Attorneys Barry Felder, Catherine McGrath and Matthew Moren represented Playboy.


Many notable photographers have contributed to Playboy, including Richard Fegley, William Figge, Arny Freytag, Ron Harris, David Mecey, Russ Meyer, Pompeo Posar, Suze Randall, Herb Ritts, Stephen Wayda, Sam Wu, R Scott Hooper, Mario Casilli, and Bunny Yeager.

Modeling pay

During the 1960s and 1970s all PMOY's received pink automobiles, the hue of pink used was known as "Playmate Pink", the same shade as awarded to Mary Kay's independent sales force, a frequent source of confusion.

Photo editing

There is some controversy over airbrushing (or, in recent times, image editing) that is done on the photos featured in the magazine. Some readers say that this kind of photo-editing takes away from authenticity and makes photographs look unnatural.
One example was the case of Pamela Anderson and the "disappearing labia". In her original Playboy appearance in February 1990, there was a rear-view photo with her legs slightly apart and her labia minora visible. In reprints in later "Newsstand Specials" as well as a poster-sized print, she had been "defeminized," this area having been painted over in the color of the object in front of which she was standing.
Similarly, in Rena Mero's ("Sable") first Playboy shoot, one photo of Mero lying on her back was edited to add pubic hair over her genitalia. However, in the 50th Anniversary issue, this picture was printed in its original, unedited state.
Rival adult magazine Hustler and owner Larry Flynt has often been critical of Playboy and airbrushing. This has led Hustler to promote the fact that their nude pictorials are never airbrushed and are completely natural. This is a separate issue from whether the models are completely natural: that is, free of silicone breast implants.


  • First issue with two-page centerfold: February 1954 (Margaret Scott)
  • First issue with Leroy Neiman's Femlin: August 1955
  • First issue with a Playmate showing pubic hair: February 1956 (Marguerite Empey)
  • First issue with a three-page centerfold: March 1956 (Marian Stafford)
  • First issue with a Vargas girl: March 1957
  • First issue with two Playmates for Playmate of the Month: October 1958 (Pat Sheehan and Mara Corday)
  • First issue with Ian Fleming story: March 1960
  • First issue with Playboy Advisor column: September 1960
  • First issue with Playboy Interview: September 1962 (with Miles Davis)
  • First issue with an African-American centerfold: March 1965 (Jennifer Jackson)
  • First issue with Playboy 20Q: Cheryl Tiegs in October 1978
  • First issue with a man on the cover: April 1964 (Peter Sellers)
  • First issue to show a celebrity or non-Playmate's pubic hair: August 1969 (dancer Paula Kelly)
  • First issue with centerfold showing pubic hair: December 1969 (Gloria Root)
  • First issue with identical twins in centerfold: October 1970 - (Mary and Madeleine Collinson)
  • First full frontal nude centerfold: January 1971 (Liv Lindeland).
  • First issue with a double sided centerfold (the reverse side was a rear view). January 1974 (Nancy Cameron)
  • First issue with signed centerfold: October 1975 (Jill De Vries)
  • First issue with Playmate data sheet: July 1977 (Sondra Theodore)
  • First issue without staple in the centerfold: October 1985
  • First issue with identical triplets in the centerfold, The Dahm Triplets: December 1998
  • First issue with explicit on cover: February 1999
  • First issue with female video game characters (most notably Bloodrayne): October 2004
  • First issue ever of Playboy Philippines debuted on April 2, 2008 as a "mature lifestyle magazine" without any nudity.


Many celebrities (singers, actresses, models, etc.) have posed for Playboy over the years. This list is only a small portion of those who have posed. Some of them are:

International editions

(starting at the accompanying date, or during the accompanying date range)
The growth of the Internet prompted the magazine to develop an official web presence called Playboy Online or, which is the official website for Playboy Enterprises, and an online companion to Playboy magazine. The site has been available online since 1994. As part of the online presence, Playboy developed a pay web site called the Playboy Cyber Club in 1995 which features online chats, additional pictorials & videos of Playmates and Playboy Cyber Girls that are not featured in the magazine, as well as archives of past Playboy articles and interviews. Playboy Cyber Club has opened up a new door for girls interested in posing. It is much easier to access, because it is online. It attracts just about as many as the magazine, and brought a whole new line of girls. Some Playmates start in Cyber Club and work their way to the magazine. In September 2005, Playboy launched the online edition of the magazine Playboy Digital.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has published a Braille edition of Playboy since 1970. The Braille version includes all the written words in the non-Braille magazine, but no pictorial representations. Congress cut off funding for the Braille magazine translation in 1985, but U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan reversed the decision on First Amendment grounds.


* Nick Stone, editor. The Bedside Playboy. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1963.
  • Jacob Dodd, editor. The Playboy Book: Forty Years. Santa Monica, California: General Publishing Group, 1994, ISBN 1-881649-03-2
  • Playboy: 50 Years, The Photographs. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003, ISBN 0-8118-3978-8
  • Nick Stone, editor; Michelle Urry, cartoon editor. Playboy: 50 Years, The Cartoons. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2004. ISBN 0-8118-3976-1
  • Gretchen Edgren, editor. The Playboy Book: Fifty Years. Taschen, 1995. ISBN 3-8228-3976-0
  • G. Barry Golson, editor. The Playboy Interview. New York: Playboy Press, 1981. ISBN 0-87223-668-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-87223-644-7 (softcover)
  • G. Barry Golson, editor. The Playboy Interview Volume II. New York: Wideview/Perigee, 1983. ISBN 0-399-50768-X (hardcover), ISBN 0-399-50769-8 (softcover)
  • David Sheff, interviewer; G. Barry Golson, editor. The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: Playboy Press, 1981, ISBN 0-87223-705-2; 2000 edition, ISBN 0-312-25464-4
  • Stephen Randall, editor. "The Playboy Interview Book: They Played the Game". New York: M Press, 2006, ISBN 1-59582-046-9
playboy in Arabic: بلاي بوي
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playboy in Thai: เพลย์บอย
playboy in Vietnamese: Playboy
playboy in Turkish: Playboy (dergi)
playboy in Chinese: 花花公子

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Casanova, Don Juan, Lothario, Romeo, bon vivant, carouser, clubman, clubwoman, contestant, cutup, debauchee, excellent companion, frisker, frolicker, funmaker, gamboler, gay dog, good company, good mixer, joiner, lady-killer, man-about-town, merrymaker, mixer, nightclub habitue, player, pleasant company, pleasure-seeker, pleasurer, pleasurist, rake, reveler, rollicker, roue, skylarker, social lion, wolf, womanizer
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