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

Keep scrolling for more

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 But his focus wasn’t so much the giant idealized imagery as the local context—a ladder propped on a wall, a worker passing by, an ugly graffiti scrawl. Laura Mallonee, Wired, "The Flimsy Veneer of Gigantic Advertisements," 20 May 2020 A few students responded by showing up downtown to spray paint anti-war graffiti on businesses. Paula Schleis,, "Making the call: Why Kent's mayor asked the governor to send the Guard to Kent State," 1 May 2020 An Amtrak train streaked with graffiti rumbled through the historic town, past the shops with rainbows painted in their windows. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "In pandemic, it’s ‘us versus them’," 26 Apr. 2020 The portrait, located in the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Beachwood Drive in the Los Feliz neighborhood, is one of many graffiti murals that contribute to the artistic culture of Los Angeles. Conchita Margaret Widjojo,, "Prince Harry (in a Hoodie!) 'Welcomed' to L.A. by Street Artist's Graffiti: 'Keep Calm and Wash Hands'," 14 Apr. 2020 Another synagogue in Huntsville has been targeted by anti-Semitic graffiti. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Second synagogue vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti in Huntsville," 10 Apr. 2020 Account @michaela99 recreated a famous graffiti piece by street artist Banksy with a boy and a bouquet of roses. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "The Getty Museum called for people to recreate works of art while in quarantine — and they did not disappoint," 1 Apr. 2020 Soak in the sunshine on the urban garden patio, complete with graffiti murals, picnic tables and shade trees. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "The ultimate beer-lover's guide to bars, breweries and taprooms in Tempe and Scottsdale," 29 Feb. 2020 The 5Pointz case was the first graffiti matter to be tried under the Visual Artists Rights Act. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "5Pointz graffiti has now made an indelible mark on the law and art," 21 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "This couple turned their taqueria into a food bank," 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, "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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about graffiti

Time Traveler for graffiti

Time Traveler

The first known use of graffiti was in 1945

See more words from the same year

Statistics for graffiti

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Graffiti.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!