Definition of profanity in English:

profanity

noun

mass noun
  • 1Blasphemous or obscene language.

    ‘an outburst of profanity’
    • ‘But the key words in understanding swearing, as opposed to coarse language or mere profanity, are taboo and shock.’
    • ‘Janis Joplin is fined $200 for violating local profanity and obscenity laws for her performance after a concert in Tampa, Florida.’
    • ‘Mercedes was taken back by the sudden change of emotion on Jake's face and his abrupt outburst of profanity.’
    • ‘The atmosphere of the billiard room, it was suggested in South Shields, was also conducive to profanity and bad language.’
    • ‘His highly polished boots and the ivory-handled revolvers strapped to his hips were all part of this posturing, as was the profanity of his language.’
    • ‘Zora raises her hand: ‘Never use profanity or inappropriate language.’’
    • ‘Now let me be quite clear that I'm not the kind of person given to the use of profanity or offensive language.’
    • ‘Similarly, don't use profanity, obscenity, slander or libel.’
    • ‘We cut back to the splitscreen view so we can also see the studio anchorman, who's obviously similarly at a loss by the outburst of profanity.’
    • ‘Whenever I use profanity in my posts, the language in the comments inevitably becomes coarser.’
    oath, swear word, expletive, curse, obscenity, four-letter word, dirty word, execration, imprecation
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    1. 1.1count noun A swear word; an oath.
      ‘a man with bloodied chin mouthing profanities’
      • ‘His mumbled curses and profanities were becoming more and more apparent.’
      • ‘When a song makes you want to get up and dance, hug someone, grope someone and shout profanities all at once, is it special or are you?’
      • ‘May I be so bold as to encourage the use of profanities… for real… not just symbols.’
      • ‘Looking over my shoulder, it was alarming to see 20 people in black charging through gravestones, mouthing profanities.’
      • ‘And then, all of a sudden Garrett is taking a solo so unbelievably impassioned, he has me screaming profanities.’
      • ‘We hastily examined the despatched message to check that an obscenity or profanity had not somehow slipped in, or that a word could have been misinterpreted.’
      • ‘I didn't notice him until he ejected a stream of swear words and profanities when we were told to leave the train and wait on platform three.’
      • ‘Interestingly enough, I avoided emitting a stream of profanities as I made a completely futile attempt to steer.’
      • ‘I won't even delve into the profanities this elicited in explosive bursts as I read his latest missive taking me to task for this or that.’
      • ‘That means the music is turned down to a tolerable level and the arguments peppered with colourful church-related profanities begins.’
    2. 1.2 Irreligious or irreverent behaviour.
      • ‘Despite gospel-centred ministries, and various societies dedicated to moral reform, homosexuality, profanity, immorality, drunkenness and gluttony were widespread.’
      • ‘This is a clash between piety and profanity, between light and darkness, between the path to Paradise and the way to Hell.’
      • ‘The question of sanctity versus profanity is one which every Pagan, Wiccan, or Witch confronts and comes to terms with at some point on their spiritual path.’
      • ‘Religious scholars and students were moved by it as a piece of Jewish and Israeli literature that functioned neither as a traditional religious text nor as a profanity of sacred ideas.’
      • ‘The profanity of medieval gargoyles contrast with sacred images decorating doorways and the interior of churches, though grotesque imagery on a smaller scale is found here too.’
      • ‘Not by abandoning all to profanity, but by extending the reach of sacred time and space.’
      • ‘Throughout, these figures mirror humanity in all its pomposity and haplessness, calculation and honesty, devotion and infidelity, profanity and piety.’
      • ‘While this may seem a bit simplistic, it actually describes how profanity can exist in a sacred universe.’
      • ‘This was in the notorious letter to Michelangelo, published in 1550, in which the writer roundly denounced the pagan profanity and immoderate artistic license of The Last Judgment.’
      • ‘Others, touching on areas that range from elements of sexuality, to the treatment of the dead and dying, to bodily indignity and even profanity and sacrilege, are of course more controversial.’
      • ‘We need not offer any apologies for that just because the forces of profanity seem to be powerful.’
      idolatry, sacrilege, irreligiousness, ungodliness, impiety, unholiness, profaneness, blasphemy, irreverence, disrespectfulness, disrespect
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Origin

Mid 16th century: from late Latin profanitas, from Latin profanus ‘not sacred’ (see profane).

Pronunciation

profanity

/prəˈfanɪti/