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

Gascón said graffiti removal costs the city roughly $20 million a year. Lauren Hernandez,, "Seven ‘high-profile’ graffiti taggers indicted in taggings across San Francisco," 10 July 2018 Street art and graffiti, for example, became hugely popular in the 1980s, especially among New York City artists who sought to make artwork accessible outside of the confining walls of museums. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "Modern Takes on 80s Artwork Hit Washington D.C. Streets," 23 Apr. 2018 In Montrose, the district had been providing services such as security patrols, graffiti removal and colorful lights on the bridges over U.S. 59. Nancy Sarnoff, Houston Chronicle, "Montrose Management District votes to dissolve," 22 Mar. 2018 BIDs are districts where commercial property owners agree to a small additional property tax to generate money to use for clean-and-safe programs, graffiti removal, better lighting and other services. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Detroiters deserve more retail in their neighborhoods; new study backs an old idea," 6 Feb. 2018 Paris Jackson paid respects to her late father Michael Jackson, cleaning spray paint graffiti off his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Paris Jackson scrubs spray paint graffiti from Michael Jackson's Hollywood star," 13 June 2018 Most all of its windows have been smashed by vandals and several parts of the building are covered with graffiti. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Art competition announced for City Methodist ruin garden in Gary, commission offers $10K prize," 17 May 2018 Courtesy of the Subjects Egypt's walls are talking, thanks to Swedish journalist and photographer Mia Gröndahl and Egyptian writer Angie Balata, who, in early 2013, formed a network of graffiti artists called Women on Walls. Melissa Bykofsky, Marie Claire, "These Women Graffiti Artists Are Making People Talk in Egypt," 21 May 2014 Years later the killer resurfaces, scrawling graffiti on a barn and leaving notes, photos and used condoms on children's bicycles. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana child killer who taunted police featured on Investigation Discovery," 13 July 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






Statistics for graffiti

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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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