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

Definition of graffito

: an inscription or drawing made on some public surface (such as a rock or wall) also : a message or slogan written as or as if as a graffito

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Other Words from graffito

graffitist \ grə-​ˈfē-​tist How to pronounce graffitist (audio) , gra-​ , grä-​ \ noun

Graffito Is the Singular Form of Graffiti

Any casual writing or design marked on a wall is a graffito. Graffiti (the plural of graffito) have been made throughout history; they are found in abundance on the monuments of ancient Egypt. Technically the term applies to a design scratched through a layer of paint or plaster, but its meaning is extended to other markings. Graffiti produced with spray paint became notorious in New York City in the 1970s and have appeared in cities all over the US and Europe. The 20th-century preoccupation with manifestations of the subconscious stimulated this form of expression and produced a vogue for “graffiti art.” Graffiti are sometimes considered a form of folk art.

Examples of graffito in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There have been a dozen instances of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti appearing on or near campus in recent weeks, according to Syverud, who said police believe that one to five people connected to the university are responsible for the vandalism. CBS News, "Reports of racist manifesto at Syracuse University likely a hoax, chancellor says," 21 Nov. 2019 Protesters ransacked Hong Kong’s legislature, spraying graffiti and waving British-era flags in the chamber after commemorations for the 22nd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China. The Economist, "Politics this week," 6 July 2019 On Avenida Juárez, sanitation workers were scrubbing graffiti from the latest green-bandanna rally, which had taken place the week before. Seth Harp, Harper's magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 2 Mar. 2020 Problems include litter, graffiti, loud music that can disturb bats, bolts and anchors that have been illegally installed for climbing, and human feces, the newspaper says. USA TODAY, "Virus rains on parades, Utah women walk out, teachers strike: News from around our 50 states," 13 Mar. 2020 Swastikas and desecrated gravestones and anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogues and schools and playgrounds and cemeteries. Hara Person, Time, "My Mom Warned Me About Anti-Semitism. I Didn’t Fully Understand Until Last Year’s Synagogue Shooting," 25 Oct. 2019 Some, however, received individual attention in The San Diego Union-Tribune, including cases involving anti-Semitic graffiti, racially motivated assaults and homophobic hate speech. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hate crimes cataloged: Five years of malice and spite in San Diego County," 30 Aug. 2019 But his most famous stage name, Aphex Twin, finally made a return in 2014, when a viral marketing campaign involving graffiti, dark web links, and a blimp started to give fans hints about a new album. Al Shipley, Billboard, "Worth the Wait: The 10 Best Albums That Fans Waited Over a Decade For," 29 Aug. 2019 On Avenida Juárez, sanitation workers were scrubbing graffiti from the latest green-bandanna rally, which had taken place the week before. Christine Smallwood, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 30 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'graffito.' 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 graffito

1851, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for graffito

Italian, incised inscription, from graffiare to scratch, probably from grafio stylus, from Latin graphium

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Time Traveler for graffito

Time Traveler

The first known use of graffito was in 1851

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Statistics for graffito

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Graffito.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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