Definition of obscenity in English:

obscenity

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The state or quality of being obscene:

    ‘the book was banned for obscenity’
    • ‘Undoubtedly, English law was imprecise on the matter of obscenity, and the jurist might well have found this irritating.’
    • ‘For better or worse, the standing ‘test’ for obscenity created by our Supreme Court does not define it in absolute terms, but defers to ‘community standards’.’
    • ‘Zine editors, we are told, feel they are immune to the restrictions of copyright, libel and obscenity laws, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and pagination.’
    • ‘Because the Court has ruled that obscenity is not protected speech, the FCC may ban it entirely.’
    • ‘Officials are reviewing several complaints regarding obscenity and lawmakers are moving quickly to provide regulators with even more ammunition.’
    • ‘The Net can sometimes seem like a monstrous fountain of obscenity, hate and lies, the ultimate refuge for sociopaths releasing years of pent-up frustration.’
    • ‘The few restrictions allowed concern such matters as obscenity, libel, national security, and the sometimes conflicting right to a fair trial.’
    • ‘The judge then turned to the statutory definition of obscenity and said that it -’
    • ‘The government has historically used obscenity and copyright laws to stifle the importation of ‘undesirable’ foreign media.’
    • ‘‘Shanghai Baby’ was not the only book banned for obscenity in China.’
    • ‘This standard allows a state to judge obscenity, at least in part, on the basis of local standards, although there are apparently limits to the extent that idiosyncratically intolerant local standards may apply.’
    • ‘From common law libel to public obscenity to nude dancing to burning the flag, the Supreme Court has extended legal protection under the aegis of the First Amendment's clause protecting the freedom of speech.’
    • ‘First, while obscenity is illegal, pornography is not, when viewed by adults.’
    • ‘Morality is one of those things, like obscenity, that arbiters have had a hard time defining.’
    • ‘Wade through the policy statements and obscenity violation documents the Federal Communications Commission makes available to the public, and you will fast get lost in a sea of legal jargon.’
    • ‘When I think of ‘narrative,’ I'm reminded of the Supreme Court Justice asked to define obscenity: I know it when I see it.’
    • ‘Anti-gambling activists argue that economic gains are overstated and legalization would cause obscenity, violence, and other social problems.’
    • ‘I've looked at the extradition treaty and there's no extradition for obscenity.’
    • ‘He did not oppose legislation governing obscenity or child pornography, but decried the exploitation of fear of child pornography to further bids to censor the Net.’
    • ‘I have deleted the post involving obscenity and banned the poster from commenting, although they told me that they would not be returning to the site in any event.’
    indecency, immorality, impropriety, salaciousness, smuttiness, smut, lewdness, rudeness, vulgarity, dirtiness, dirt, filthiness, filth, foulness, coarseness, crudeness, grossness, vileness, nastiness, impurity, immodesty, indelicacy, indecorousness, unwholesomeness, scabrousness, ribaldry, bawdiness, suggestiveness, eroticism, carnality, lasciviousness, lechery, licentiousness, libidinousness, degeneracy, depravity, amorality, debauchery, dissoluteness, prurience
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    1. 1.1 Obscene behaviour, language, or images:
      ‘a stream of invective and obscenity’
      • ‘Melville said most of the evidence could be used in the trial but warned the prosecution not to refer to the material as pornography, obscenity or erotic.’
      • ‘And, besides all this we do need a language to deal with obscenity.’
      • ‘Blasphemy, obscenity, my mother: an unholy trinity that I wouldn't normally be in a hurry to put together.’
      • ‘In the 1960s and 1970s bad language and obscenity began to make its presence felt on the stage and television.’
      • ‘I drink coffee once a day and I'm obsessed with fair-traded products because I know the obscenity around the coffee industry.’
      • ‘Define, if you must, what you mean by obscenity and come up with a 21st century version of blasphemy.’
      • ‘She then explains that she thinks that's a dirty word because obscenity is all in the mind and that word just doesn't sit right with her.’
      • ‘I made my own contribution to the general idiocy when a Frenchman with a black polo neck and a pipe began berating the governor in language that was ingenious in its obscenity.’
      • ‘A line could and should easily be drawn, however, when these companies resort to nonsensical double entendres involving lewdness and obscenity.’
      • ‘Mirreen, in a statement issued to press, regretted that obscenity and immoral activities are on the rise.’
      • ‘She claims she suffered serious harm, apparently from viewing the halftime show, but the complaint is cast in language of protecting children from obscenity.’
      • ‘Conservatives also maintained that the level of vulgarity and obscenity in popular culture was being driven upward primarily by the media conglomerates.’
      • ‘The line between what constitutes art or something of literary merit and obscenity or blasphemy is a fine one.’
      • ‘Yes, the government has instituted a committee to look into the matter of vulgarity and obscenity and the allegations of prostitution racket involving dance bars as pick-up points.’
      • ‘They are up to speed in this enlightened world in praising the dramatisation of the sub-culture with the abundance of obscenity and foul language.’
      • ‘Even the outrageously physical sport of Rugby League is becoming far less tolerant of obscenity and ill behaviour in an effort to become more palatable to the masses, not less.’
      • ‘On many other occasions he was charged with obscenity and blasphemy for his frank depiction of issues like poverty, prostitution, greed and the relation these things have to wealth, the Church and the State.’
      • ‘An example of why has come up on this post, where a disagreement between two posters degenerated into crude obscenity.’
      • ‘But at what point does the intended sex appeal or fashion liberation border on vulgarity, obscenity, and revulsion?’
      • ‘Since 1927, the United States government has regulated against indecent language, obscenity, and indecency.’
      indecency, immorality, impropriety, salaciousness, smuttiness, smut, lewdness, rudeness, vulgarity, dirtiness, dirt, filthiness, filth, foulness, coarseness, crudeness, grossness, vileness, nastiness, impurity, immodesty, indelicacy, indecorousness, unwholesomeness, scabrousness, ribaldry, bawdiness, suggestiveness, eroticism, carnality, lasciviousness, lechery, licentiousness, libidinousness, degeneracy, depravity, amorality, debauchery, dissoluteness, prurience
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    2. 1.2[count noun] An extremely offensive word or expression:
      ‘the men scowled and muttered obscenities’
      • ‘One of his opponents was last seen heading for the showers at Laem Chabang muttering obscenities under his breath.’
      • ‘Do you know how hard it is to do accents and voices and obscenities, and make them sound brilliant and funny?’
      • ‘Muttering a stream of obscenities, she threw the pan into the sink with a loud clatter.’
      • ‘As he walked over to our side of the room, I heard him mutter some obscenities under his breath.’
      • ‘I mutter a few obscenities under my breath before trying to ignore him.’
      • ‘He furiously pointed at Powell and launched a broadside of obscenities at the Secretary.’
      • ‘The extremists have shouted obscenities at her in front of her children and other neighborhood children.’
      • ‘A stream of curses and obscenities streamed through my mind, begging to be screamed.’
      • ‘If you chanted the kind of obscenities heard tonight at an English football ground you'd be thrown out - probably for life.’
      • ‘I get up muttering obscenities under my breath as I try to wake up my foot that has decided to fall asleep on me.’
      • ‘He noticed that most of the other words were racist epithets or the standard obscenities.’
      • ‘When the game was over, Drew stalked off, muttering obscenities under his breath.’
      • ‘Andy continued to mutter obscenities to herself, although too low for anyone to hear or see.’
      • ‘A couple of days ago some high school sophomore flooded my comments boxes with obscenities.’
      • ‘All the while, they were shouting obscenities about my mother and other vile profanities.’
      • ‘Merrick was muttering obscenities and Ryder under his breath while she finished up.’
      • ‘They fell over onto one side of the bike, with the man called Tweeter cursing obscenities as he fell.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, it is filled with obscenities and blasphemies of the highest order.’
      • ‘Rick muttered obscenities and threats to kill them all, which she sensibly ignored.’
      • ‘He carries 500 pages of juicy swear words and obscenities with him, which never leaves his hands.’
      curse, oath, swear word, expletive, profanity, four-letter word, dirty word, blasphemy, imprecation, malediction, vulgarism, vulgarity
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Origin

Late 16th century: from French obscénité or Latin obscaenitas, from obscaenus (see obscene).

Pronunciation

obscenity

/əbˈsɛnɪti/