Definition of bawdy in US English:



  • Dealing with sexual matters in a comical way; humorously indecent.

    • ‘There is plenty of Shakespeare's bawdy humour too and the sexual innuendoes come thick and fast.’
    • ‘In orange and green spray paint that seems almost subtle next to the luminous signatures and bawdy slogans, a simple piece of graffiti is etched onto the wall of the off-license on a Hull estate.’
    • ‘For all its bawdy variety, however, Picasso's sexual imagination remains remarkably conventional.’
    • ‘Still, it is risqué by American standards, with lots of sexy love scenes and bawdy humor.’
    • ‘Publishers splashed sex and violence on risque covers and framed the stories themselves with bawdy advertisements.’
    • ‘But a spinster living alone with an adult man would surely give rise to bawdy speculation among the locals.’
    • ‘If little has changed regarding governmental disapproval of bad language and bawdy behavior on TV and radio, things certainly are different for Penn these days.’
    • ‘Interspersing songs with humorous anecdotes in which his bawdy humor and racy wit come into play, audiences never know what's going to happen when Kan Kan takes to the stage.’
    • ‘The bawdy bruiser they call Yogi, whose bear-like qualities extend beyond his physique, is almost embarrassed by the suggestion that beneath his comedic exterior lurks a consummate professional.’
    • ‘The cards revitalized older notions like the comic and dislocated aspects of sexuality which had once found expression in libertine literature, bawdy songs, and burlesque theater.’
    • ‘The uproarious, bawdy image of these parties is wholly at odds with the petite, soft-spoken 41-year-old divorcee who has masterminded it all.’
    • ‘‘A bawdy broad, witty and intelligent, with a mouth like a sailor,’ is how Wise describes her.’
    • ‘Brothers and sisters should avoid one another in public and refrain from telling bawdy jokes or making sexual remarks in each other's presence.’
    • ‘Now bawdy, saucy Bollywood is really getting some respect - and it's about time with the Bombay film industry churning out 1,000 feature films every year.’
    • ‘They are inveterate gamblers, drink as much beer as their wages will permit, are devoted to bawdy jokes, and use probably the foulest language in the world.’
    • ‘Catcalls and lewd hooting spilled forth from the mouths of Chris' bawdy band mates.’
    • ‘Temples, an amphitheatre, paved roads, toilets and bath houses are uniquely preserved, but it is the individual houses, some with simple mosaics, more than a few with bawdy Roman graffiti, that bring the history to life.’
    • ‘Several mainstream game publishers are releasing bawdy games containing nudity and explicit sexual content.’
    • ‘Her grandmother, Madame Duval from Paris (an English barmaid before ensnaring Evelina's grandfather), shows up and is a marvel of bawdy vulgarity.’
    • ‘Its impressive, often striking visual design and broad, bawdy humour could best be described as an offbeat combination of Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and Wayne and Shuster.’
    ribald, indecent, risqué, racy, rude, spicy, suggestive, titillating, naughty, improper, indelicate, indecorous, off colour, earthy, broad, locker-room, rabelaisian
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  • Humorously indecent talk or writing.

    • ‘Theaters reopened to comedy, bawdy, and romance.’
    • ‘Comedy, tragedy, love, death, the spiritual and the bawdy are all represented.’
    • ‘As result of your reading did you form an opinion regarding the sincerity of the writer in an attempt to express an honest picture as opposed to mere bawdy?’
    • ‘It will be useful to re-establish first of all that Steele really did think of himself as an innovator, a propagandist for a new comedy, which was to replace Restoration bawdy on stage.’
    • ‘Though bawdy might be censured, it was never censored.’
    • ‘A mixture of passion, nostalgia, and masculine bawdy infuses the cult of youthful athleticism.’
    • ‘His wonderful wit greatly delighted contemporary readers, most of whom were not worried by bawdy, though there were some who thought it inappropriate for a clergyman.’
    • ‘It has often been chosen as a school set text, due to its edifying subject and absence of bawdy, and has consequently retained an unfortunate aura of the classroom for many readers and commentators.’
    • ‘If you go beyond bawdy and tear all the veils away, you get pornography and nothing else.’


Early 16th century: from bawd + -y.