graf·​fi·​ti | \grə-ˈfē-(ˌ)tē, gra-, grä-\
graffitied; graffitiing\grə-​ˈfē-​(ˌ)tē-​iŋ, gra-​, grä-​ \ also graffiting\grə-​ˈfē-​tiŋ, gra-​, grä-​ \

Definition of graffiti 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

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



Definition of graffiti (Entry 2 of 2)

: usually unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface

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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


The walls of the old building are covered with graffiti.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Vandals used pink and white spray paint to graffiti a string of vehicles, buildings and businesses over the weekend, according to the Boise Police Department. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "Vandals cause thousands in damage by spray painting businesses, vehicles in Boise | Idaho Statesman," 2 Apr. 2018 But rather than go the traditional route of weighty heritage and spectacular yet static stones, the house has placed its mascot, Wladimir the cat, center stage (in a dedicated app, Vendorama) and tapped the artist Noé to graffiti the entryway. Vogue, "Vendorama: Boucheron’s Anniversary Ode to the Place It Calls Home," 11 Jan. 2018 Mark MacKinnon | The Globe and Mail | Dec 2, 2016 | 63 minutes (15,996 words) MacKinnon tells the story of Naief Abazid, who graffitied a school wall on a lark at age 14. Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2017: All of Our No. 1 Story Picks," 10 May 2017 The Montreal resident, who runs a power-washing business, is the founder of an initiative called Erasing Hate, where he is often called upon to remove hate symbols that have been graffitied onto public property, according to the CBC. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Canadian Town’s Swastika-Adorned Anchor Causes Anger and Confusion," 25 Aug. 2017 Police began investigating after a church parishioner reported finding the door kicked in and graffiti on three buildings. Dan Corey, NBC News, "Air Force Members Painted Satanic Symbols on Historic Church, Police Say," 13 Oct. 2017 The new tagline was graffitied on one of the walls, and hip young guests were plied with Moscow Mules and Armani Exchange popcorn. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Armani Exchange Celebrated a New Era by Creating a Club for a Night," 12 Oct. 2017 Also on display is a photo of a wall graffitied up by Andrew Witten, who went by Zephyr. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "Graffiti at the IMA: Spray paint's debut at fancy museum," 5 Oct. 2017 When a giant portrait of a fierce-looking owl, the emblem of Athens since ancient times, was itself graffitied, it was quickly cleaned up. The Economist, "Chic Greek graffitiHow angry street art is making Athens hip," 30 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Like the peace walls in Belfast, the Lennon Wall in Prague is slathered in graffiti and ideas about peace, love and freedom. Rick Stevestribune Content Agency, The Seattle Times, "In Europe’s border walls, a divided history and a united future," 11 Sep. 2018 For this part of the performance, the stage was covered in faux graffiti and Lopez, wearing a gold jumpsuit, rode in on a 6 train. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "J.Lo Just Shut Down the VMAs with an Epic Performance and We're Still Recovering," 21 Aug. 2018 At a time when the art world was swept up by early attempts at video and graffiti art, Mr. Ross preferred rendering mountain scenes brimming with wispy clouds, shimmering pools and scrubby trees. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "A Renaissance for Bob Ross: Fans Want the ‘Joy of Painting’ Host to Have a Spot in Art History," 21 Aug. 2018 Later, Keene admitted to the graffiti and detectives are looking into further charges of criminal mischief, Draper said. Ryan Gillespie,, "Groveland teen nabbed in string of vandalism in Clermont, police say," 14 June 2018 Ryan’s comments came one day after police and school officials announced that offensive graffiti and other vandalism has been discovered on May 2. Travis Andersen,, "In Arlington, 14 students accused of vandalism," 9 May 2018 My artwork is influenced by surrealism, abstract expressionism and graffiti. Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Exuberant art of self-proclaimed emissary of light and love, opening in West Allis," 25 Apr. 2018 The world of graffiti and street art is very diverse. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "This Groundbreaking Exhibit Might Be the Coolest Street Art Show Ever," 19 Mar. 2018 Kendall Jenner, on the other hand, pulled out the low-rise jeans, graffiti T-shirt, baguette bag, and Von Dutch hat for the occasion. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Drake Gave Chanel Bags as Favors at His Birthday Party," 26 Oct. 2018

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


1964, in the meaning defined above


1945, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for graffiti


see graffiti entry 2


Italian, plural of graffito

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Dictionary Entries near graffiti


gradus ad Parnassum






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Time Traveler for graffiti

The first known use of graffiti was in 1945

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More Definitions for graffiti



English Language Learners Definition of graffiti

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


graf·​fi·​ti | \grə-ˈfē-tē \

Kids Definition of graffiti

: writing or drawing made on a public structure without permission

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More from Merriam-Webster on graffiti

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with graffiti

Spanish Central: Translation of graffiti

Nglish: Translation of graffiti for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of graffiti for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about graffiti

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