according to the DRAE, tribada (or tríbada) is the poetic form of lesbian, probably because everything that smacks of classic it sound to glory to them, as opposed to Tortillera, defined as vulgar by the same members of the Spanish Royal Academy. Tribada comes from the Greek verb “tríbein” meaning rubbing, a verb, as everyone knows, squander poetry all around.
So far, everything that is known with certainty about what rubbed Greek women in the cradle of our civilization, a sexist, misogynist and homophobic societies, that considered women mostly inferior beings, properties, and virtually slaves without non-reproductive sexuality . So if someone imagines Greek women doing the scissors, most likely it was a sexual practice by prostitutes for the enjoyment of men at parties. In the same manner in ancient Greece there were no gay men, lesbians did not exist, because are concepts and constructs that appear recently in the 19th century, which have little, or nothing to do, with what could be that in reality. By this, we mean that probably in ancient Greece not existed tribadas, but a sexual practice among women consisting of mutually rubbing the vulva and clitoris. Homosexual behavior is not the same as homosexuality.
Apparently, the first time it appears the idea of rubbing with sexual meaning we now know, is in the 2nd century BC, which corresponds to the end of Classical Greece and the beginning of the Roman Empire, in which the woman could have more protagonism. So from the Greek “tríbein” pass to Latin “Tribas” that, once the Roman Empire falls, momentarily disappears from history. With the advent of the Renaissance and the translation of the classics in medieval eyes, many words among which is “tribein” were incorporated into our modern languages.
In the present case, although we can track the use of the word since 1538 in Italy (Anibale Caro Commento di be agretso | Niccolò Franco. Le pistole vulgari) and 1565 in France (Jacques Tahureau. Les dialogues), merit is usually attributed to Mr. Pierre de Bourdeille, lord of Brantôme, who, in 1587, recovered and spread the word in his “Memoirs”, translated into French as tribade.
In Spanish the first time is found is in 1611 in the “Suplemento al Tesoro de la Lengua Española” by Covarrubias, as a kind of synonymous for the Latin word “marimacho”, that had nothing to do with the actual meaning.
Later the word came on merit in our dictionaries with the actual meaning of lesbian, although from the nineteenth century, the terms tribadismo and tríbada were giving way to the now more common lesbian and lesbianism. In recent decades, tribadismo, plus lesbianism, is used to describe sex between women, returning to the poetic form, from the probably vulgar for the RAE, “hacer la tijera” (do the scissors).
Variations Tribadismo, Tribadista.