Definition of profanity in English:

profanity

noun

  • 1Blasphemous or obscene language.

    ‘an outburst of profanity’
    • ‘The atmosphere of the billiard room, it was suggested in South Shields, was also conducive to profanity and bad language.’
    • ‘But the key words in understanding swearing, as opposed to coarse language or mere profanity, are taboo and shock.’
    • ‘Mercedes was taken back by the sudden change of emotion on Jake's face and his abrupt outburst of profanity.’
    • ‘Similarly, don't use profanity, obscenity, slander or libel.’
    • ‘Janis Joplin is fined $200 for violating local profanity and obscenity laws for her performance after a concert in Tampa, Florida.’
    • ‘Zora raises her hand: ‘Never use profanity or inappropriate 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.’
    • ‘Now let me be quite clear that I'm not the kind of person given to the use of profanity or offensive language.’
    • ‘Whenever I use profanity in my posts, the language in the comments inevitably becomes coarser.’
    • ‘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.’
    oath, swear word, expletive, curse, obscenity, four-letter word, dirty word, execration, imprecation
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    1. 1.1 A swear word; an oath.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And then, all of a sudden Garrett is taking a solo so unbelievably impassioned, he has me screaming profanities.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His mumbled curses and profanities were becoming more and more apparent.’
      • ‘Looking over my shoulder, it was alarming to see 20 people in black charging through gravestones, mouthing profanities.’
      • ‘That means the music is turned down to a tolerable level and the arguments peppered with colourful church-related profanities begins.’
      • ‘May I be so bold as to encourage the use of profanities… for real… not just symbols.’
    2. 1.2 Irreligious or irreverent behavior.
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is a clash between piety and profanity, between light and darkness, between the path to Paradise and the way to Hell.’
      • ‘While this may seem a bit simplistic, it actually describes how profanity can exist in a sacred universe.’
      • ‘Throughout, these figures mirror humanity in all its pomposity and haplessness, calculation and honesty, devotion and infidelity, profanity and piety.’
      • ‘We need not offer any apologies for that just because the forces of profanity seem to be powerful.’
      • ‘Not by abandoning all to profanity, but by extending the reach of sacred time and space.’
      • ‘Despite gospel-centred ministries, and various societies dedicated to moral reform, homosexuality, profanity, immorality, drunkenness and gluttony were widespread.’
      • ‘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.’
      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

/prəˈfanədē//prəˈfænədi/