Eroto chat gr
This the Greeks called λεσβιαζειν (to follow the Lesbian mode), because the vice was especially practiced by the Lesbian women, though in common with all others of the sort of the sort it came originally from Asia.The most celebrated victim of this extravagant superstition [that diving off a promontory on the island of Leucadia into the sea would cure one of unhappy memories of a lost love] was the fair Lesbian Sappho, whose immortal verses so well depict the passion which destroyed her.But I would also add that many publications prefer it as an adjective stylistically, with both political and grammatical considerations.Not only do people use lesbian both as a noun and as an adjective, but they do the same with homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, gay, and straight (the last two being more common as nouns in their plural form), at least in the United States.Lesbianism, to describe erotic relationships between women, had been documented in 1870.The terms lesbian, invert and homosexual were interchangeable with sapphist and sapphism around the turn of the 20th century.Mure's discussion in an appendix dedicated to a discussion of "the Lesbian vice" is especially interesting because in it he makes clear that his focus there is not on what Rosenbaum in 1901 calls "the Lesbian mode" of sexual interaction between men and women.The earliest unmistakable instance of "a lesbian" in the modern sense of the term that a Google Books search returns is from Edgar Saltus, Indulgent and cruel, prodigal and mean, a woman in whom every contradiction was resumed, Catherine was an empress who made enormous an empire already vast ; a tsarista who enumerated her victories and could not count her amours ; a conqueror who had Adonis for secretary of the treasury and Apollo for minister of war ; a cynic who slaughtered Poland and called herself a pupil of Voltaire ; a sovereign before whom the entire pageant of passion and glory unrolled ; a tyrant and a lesbian who passed through history dripping with blood and exhaling the perfume of Eros.
The question is: when did it get this modern sense?
But also, when did it stop becoming commonly used as an adjective?
Personally I can't see any evidence that lesbian has stopped "becoming commonly used as an adjective".
This is, of course, much later than the earliest citation in Merriam-Webster, and is undoubtedly a sign of the limitations of the Google Books database or search engine or both.
The earliest Google Books match for Adjective: In 1890, the term lesbian was used in a medical dictionary as an adjective to describe tribadism (as "lesbian love").