graffiti

1 of 2

noun

graf·​fi·​ti grə-ˈfē-(ˌ)tē How to pronounce graffiti (audio)
gra-,
grä-
: usually unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface
Is graffiti singular or plural?: Usage Guide

Graffiti, which also serves as the plural of graffito, is commonly used as a singular mass noun.

graffiti … was depressing people who rode the subways New Yorker
graffiti comes in various styles S. K. Oberbeck

This use is well established although not yet as well established as the mass-noun use of data. Use of graffiti as a singular count noun is still quite rare and is not standard.

graffiti

2 of 2

verb

graffitied; graffitiing grə-ˈfē-(ˌ)tē-iŋ How to pronounce graffiti (audio)
gra-,
grä-
also graffiting grə-ˈfē-tiŋ How to pronounce graffiti (audio)
gra-,
grä-

transitive verb

: to draw graffiti on : to deface with graffiti
graffitied walls

Examples of graffiti in a Sentence

Noun The walls of the old building are covered with graffiti.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Also, up and down the short corridor, the walls are adorned with Sharpie graffiti from clerks long gone, who established a loose tradition of signing the wall on their last day on the job. Stephen Deusner, SPIN, 14 Mar. 2024 There have also been numerous reports of Jewish houses of worship being vandalized with anti-Israeli graffiti. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, 1 Nov. 2023 With its backroom graffiti, deep LP stock (there’s an original pressing of Big Star’s Radio City behind the counter!), stickers on every surface, and original promotional posters for the Eagles and the Grateful Dead, Karma Records has the feel of a museum, which Ector says is appropriate. Stephen Deusner, SPIN, 14 Mar. 2024 Recently posted video shows the daring lengths some taggers have employed to add their graffiti to the building’s exterior. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 7 Feb. 2024 The City Council voted Friday to spend nearly $4 million to secure an unfinished downtown skyscraper complex and remove graffiti from its exterior. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2024 The artist’s large-scale paintings are mounted on metal gates, barbed wire looping above them, and pull from Pre-Columbian myths and L.A. scenes, including auto-body shops and eye-popping graffiti. The Editors, Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2024 The walls were covered with exceedingly ugly anti-immigrant graffiti — mostly directed against Cubans — but a single anonymous response caught my eye. Sebastian Junger, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 Three Northern California coffee house workers — seen in a viral video denying a Jewish woman access to a bathroom where there was anti-Israeli graffiti — are no longer employed there, owners of the eatery said. David K. Li, NBC News, 11 Dec. 2023
Verb
In New York City, antisemites graffiti the walls with Jew-hatred. Mike Wagenheim, Sun Sentinel, 22 Dec. 2022 The announcement follows a weekend of protests in the United Kingdom, where on June 7, protesters tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol and graffitied a statue of Sir Winston Churchill in London. Mélissa Godin, Time, 9 June 2020 What parts of the dining room walls that aren’t obscured by supplies are graffitied with well wishes in English, Spanish and Mandarin, and taped with paper bills like a neighborhood bar. Amy Scattergood, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2020 In under a hundred years, Florence’s equivalent of a New York minute, the majority were bordered up, graffitied over, repurposed into doorbell posts, or completely covered. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, 21 Jan. 2020 There have been at least 12 episodes since Nov. 6, including anti-Asian and anti-black slurs graffitied in residence halls and a swastika in a snow bank near an apartment complex where students live. Doha Madani, NBC News, 20 Nov. 2019 Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times More than 2,500 police officers patrol New York City’s subway, where crime is down sharply from the era of rampant violence and graffiti three decades ago. New York Times, 5 Nov. 2019 Fernandez was proposing to have graffiti-like murals on each of the six panels on the transportation center, with panels representing Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena. Anthony Clark Carpio, Burbank Leader, 27 Aug. 2019 Situated in a lay-by on the A487, just north of Llanrhystud, about half-way up the west coast of Wales, its importance derives from two words graffitied on it by Meic Stephens, a journalist and activist, in the 1960s: Cofiwch Dryweryn. The Economist, 22 Aug. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'graffiti.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Italian, plural of graffito

First Known Use

Noun

1945, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1964, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of graffiti was in 1945

Dictionary Entries Near graffiti

Cite this Entry

“Graffiti.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/graffiti. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

graffiti

noun
graf·​fi·​ti
grə-ˈfēt-ē
: usually unlawful writing or drawing on a public surface
graffiti verb
Etymology

Noun

Italian, plural of graffito

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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