expletive

noun
ex·ple·tive | \ ˈek-splə-tiv \

Definition of expletive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a syllable, word, or phrase inserted to fill a vacancy (as in a sentence or a metrical line) without adding to the sense especially : a word (such as it in "make it clear which you prefer") that occupies the position of the subject or object of a verb in normal English word order and anticipates a subsequent word or phrase that supplies the needed meaningful content

b : an exclamatory word or phrase especially : one that is obscene or profane

2 : one that serves to fill out or as a filling

expletive

adjective

Definition of expletive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : serving to fill up expletive phrases

2 : marked by the use of expletives

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of expletive in a Sentence

Noun

Angry expletives filled the air. Expletives were deleted from the transcript of their conversation.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The footage shows a 39-year-old teacher's aide forcefully slamming and holding a student by his neck, yelling expletives in his face. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Teacher's Aide Arrested After Choking Student," 22 Apr. 2016 What is our city administration doing about this (expletive)? Hannah Sparling, Cincinnati.com, "Is this guy a public-transit superhero? Or is he just a pain in the butt?," 10 July 2018 To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that : 0%: 0% While Bee often peppers Full Frontal with expletives, this is the first noticeable instance of her targeting a Trump family member in such a way. D. Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Samantha Bee Apologizes to Ivanka Trump for "Full Frontal" Comments," 31 May 2018 But aside from the lack of an investigation into Dunlap, Legacy-Cole argued the punishment for Schellhorn’s expletive-laden post was insufficient. Bianca Padró Ocasio, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Activist criticizes OPD as citizen review of officer's Facebook comments remains in limbo," 2 May 2018 In the aftermath of receiving the news, the juvenile engaged the court in an expletive-laden retort, according to an account from the DA's office. Jared Boyd, AL.com, "Student charged for shooting gun at Mobile high school removed from court for outburst," 29 Jan. 2018 The use of the expletive upset many fans, prompting an apology from Bee and TBS on social media the next day. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "Samantha Bee may have apologized but Kathy Griffin, Sally Field, other Hollywood liberals standing by her," 1 June 2018 My friend Sarah Silverman congratulated Roseanne on Twitter and got a world of (expletive) for it. Chris Varias, Cincinnati.com, "Bill Maher: We cannot stop talking to each other," 1 May 2018 If her choice of expletive suggested surprise, though, Lorde's true emotion might've been closer to relief. Mikael Wood, latimes.com, "Lorde brings 'Melodrama' — and perhaps some vindication — to a packed Staples Center," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Detectives later found an expletive spray-painted on the closet door. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Police: Teen found shot dead in abandoned house died during "Russian roulette"," 14 June 2018 In the footage, an officer is heard using expletive terms with the suspect. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "Two Mesa officers put on leave as police investigate another use-of-force incident," 7 June 2018 In front of three other referees, Barone said, the coach used a graphic, expletive-laced anti-gay slur. Written By Jason Buckland ; Photographs By Marta Iwanek, New York Times, "A Gay Referee Tries to Find His Place in Hockey," 23 Apr. 2018 County Attorney's Office records said that Hammelton responded to the officer's demands with expletive terms. Chris Mccrory, azcentral, "Flagstaff police officers won't be charged in fatal shooting of 78-year-old," 17 May 2018 Campbell, who is an assistant coach at Miami Edison High but previously coached at Central, Northwestern, Norland and Jackson, replied with a few expletive-laced tweets on Wednesday. David Furones, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Jonathan Vilma, Luther Campbell engage in Twitter feud over Miami Hurricanes," 19 Apr. 2018 Wylie has colorfully describes himself as the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating Steve Bannon's psychological warfare mind expletive tool. NBC News, "Meet the Press - April 8, 2018," 8 Apr. 2018 The Liverpool Echo reported that a 23-year-old British woman and her three female traveling companions were removed from flight EZY1975 for her intoxicated, expletive-laden tirade at 30,000 feet, as evidenced in video footage. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Women kicked off EasyJet flight following vulgar midair rant," 28 Mar. 2018 The tension reached its peak July 5, when Kardashian repeatedly posted graphic and expletive-ridden content about his ex on social media — including three naked photos — while accusing her of drug use, alcohol abuse and infidelity. Aurelie Corinthios, PEOPLE.com, "Rob Kardashian Turns 31: Inside His Secluded Life and Focus on Fatherhood," 17 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expletive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of expletive

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expletive

Adjective

Late Latin expletivus, from Latin expletus, past participle of explēre to fill out, from ex- + plēre to fill — more at full

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about expletive

Statistics for expletive

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expletive

The first known use of expletive was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for expletive

expletive

noun

English Language Learners Definition of expletive

: a word or phrase (such as “Damn it!”) that people sometimes say when they are angry or in pain; especially : one that is offensive

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on expletive

What made you want to look up expletive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!