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

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 The profanity was graffitied on the base of the General Robert E. Lee statue in white paint, TV station WVIR reported., "Confederate statue vandalized with profanity against Trump," 24 July 2019 Al-Mohtaseb’s store sells sodas, ceramics, traditional fabrics, and tote bags printed with the images British artist Banksy graffitied on the separation barrier meant to divide Israelis from Palestinians in the West Bank. Joseph Hincks / Hebron, Time, "Palestinians Are Not Buying What Jared Kushner Is Selling," 30 June 2019 For this show, a mirrored floor and graffitied ceiling thrilled and disoriented, and the pulsing impulses of each piece as well as the distance traveled from the first to the last gave me both a visceral and intellectual jolt. Jordan Roth, Vogue, "Jordan Roth: A Man’s View on the Haute Couture," 28 Jan. 2019 Since then, poor twelve-foot bronze Harry has been guillotined, graffitied, painted, bombed, and toppled, according to the current anti-American gripe of the day. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cowardly Incoherence of Name-Changing, Statue-Toppling, and other Iconoclasms," 25 June 2019 Students graffiti the walls, cheat on homework, and text too much in class. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Magic for Liars blends magic school with a murder mystery," 15 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All the merch is covered in graffiti and is available in sizes S-2XL. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Billie Eilish Announces New '90s-Inspired Freak City Clothing Collection," 19 July 2019 The document indicates the state will provide paint to cover the graffiti., "Art project on I-205 pedestrian bridge caught in bureaucratic limbo is spared ‘restoration’," 10 July 2019 Until it is removed, Deutsch said the monument remains concealed from public view under a tarp after efforts to remove the graffiti failed. Colleen Shalby,, "One of the last remaining Confederate monuments in California is vandalized," 9 July 2019 The Chicago Park District said that as of 8 a.m. CT Tuesday, the graffiti at the Cancer Survivors' Garden had been removed. Chevaz Clarke, CBS News, "Chicago's iconic "Bean" sculpture vandalized," 2 July 2019 Apart from the sculptures that grace the feature, there are little things that may be lost, such as the graffiti scratched into the choir stalls by the medieval worshippers whose voices once filled Notre Dame. Kristin Romey, National Geographic, "Why history says Notre Dame will rise again," 16 Apr. 2019 He was released from his last stay just a month before spray-painting the graffiti. Erin Mccarthy,, "Coatesville man sentenced to state prison for racist, anti-Semitic graffiti," 27 June 2018 She was told to cover graffiti on the bridge’s walls., "Art project on I-205 pedestrian bridge caught in bureaucratic limbo is spared ‘restoration’," 10 July 2019 Hours before — and just a few blocks away from the event — vandals painted graffiti on The Bean and elsewhere. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg tells Rainbow/PUSH audience that racial inequality, left unaddressed, ‘will upend the American project'," 1 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


1964, in the meaning defined above


1945, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for graffiti

Noun and Verb

Italian, plural of graffito

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Dictionary Entries near graffiti


gradus ad Parnassum






Statistics for graffiti

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce graffiti (audio) \

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

Comments on graffiti

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


not constant or steady

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