graf·​fi·​ti | \ grə-ˈfē-(ˌ)tē How to pronounce graffiti (audio) , gra-, grä- \

Definition of graffiti

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: usually unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface


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

Definition of graffiti (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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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.

Examples of graffiti in a Sentence

Noun The walls of the old building are covered with graffiti.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Arrighi said that police were investigating the incident and that much of the graffiti had been cleaned up by Monday afternoon. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, "Vandals paint Plymouth Rock with red graffiti," 17 Feb. 2020 This sparked a tourist craze, and visitors left ancient Yelp reviews in the form of graffiti. Erin Blakemore, Popular Science, "Seven mysterious sounds science has yet to solve," 27 Jan. 2020 Behind her, on a highway divider near Victoria Park, a line of graffiti spells out the front liners’ ultimatum: Freedom or Death. Time, "'I Absolutely Will Not Back Down.' Meet the Young People at the Heart of Hong Kong's Rebellion," 23 Jan. 2020 Teens in that test group were shown fast food ads and were able to rework the wording graffiti-style to make the ads more truthful. Washington Post, "Is this the secret to getting teens to reject junk food?," 1 Jan. 2020 Across the street from the new Rubell Museum in Allapattah, the venue was lined with a rainbow of old-school American cars and inside, the neon green runway was saturated in graffiti-style logos designed by streetwear legend Shawn Stussy. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "At the Dior Men's Show, Airbrushed “Cyber-Surfer” Eye Makeup Lit Up the Runway," 4 Dec. 2019 In his latest cover, though, Nelson plays with a more modern style, presenting two onlookers struck, in passing, by a splash of graffiti. Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, "Kadir Nelson’s “Art Connoisseurs”," 25 Nov. 2019 The stanzas appear, written in graffiti style and broken English, on a movie theater-size screen that spans the length of the set behind her. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "‘Pipeline’ at Cleveland Play House marries message and artistry to take aim at the school-to-prison pipeline," 22 Oct. 2019 Most of Carrillo’s creations combine bold colors with graffiti-style lettering and patterns inspired by her family’s Peruvian roots. Lydia Gerike,, "Urban artist Lindaluz Carrillo built a career in Hartford. Now she wants to bring art and creativity to her community," 27 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Florence's Newest Outdoor Drinking Trend Is Also Its Oldest," 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, "Anti-Semitic threat sent to Syracuse staff, chancellor vows action on 'hateful incidents'," 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, "The Subway Is in Financial Crisis. Are 500 More Police Officers Needed?," 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, "Hollywood Burbank Airport officials continue to seek art for transportation center," 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, "An act of vandalism sparks more talk of independence in Wales," 22 Aug. 2019 My current paralysis seemed to have begun with a three-word question graffitied all over my neighborhood. Catherine Lacey, Harper's magazine, "Who Is She?," 19 Aug. 2019 Black and red spray paint was used to graffiti the church sign and several sides of the church and storehouse, according to Brown. Mary Grace Keller,, "After Marriottsville church vandalized with swastikas and ‘racist’ graffiti, community bands together," 30 July 2019 The profanity was graffitied on the base of the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in white paint, TV station WVIR reported. USA TODAY, "Big butter sculpture, sweet guitar, owl released: News from around our 50 states," 24 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of graffiti


1945, in the meaning defined above


1964, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for graffiti

Noun and Verb

Italian, plural of graffito

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Time Traveler for graffiti

Time Traveler

The first known use of graffiti was in 1945

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Statistics for graffiti

Last Updated

23 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Graffiti.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for graffiti


How to pronounce graffiti (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of graffiti

: pictures or words painted or drawn on a wall, building, etc.


graf·​fi·​ti | \ grə-ˈfē-tē How to pronounce graffiti (audio) \

Kids Definition of graffiti

: writing or drawing made on a public structure without permission

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