graf·​fi·​to | \ grə-ˈfē-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce graffito (audio) , gra-, grä- \
plural graffiti\ grə-​ˈfē-​(ˌ)tē How to pronounce graffito (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 graffito (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 The home in front of them had boarded up windows and graffiti scrawled on its classic white exterior. Alina Dizik, WSJ, "From Graffiti and Boarded Up Windows, a Rare Streamline Moderne Home Emerges in Miami Beach," 28 May 2020 Some protesters damaged windows, a squad car and spraying graffiti on the building. Lici Beveridge, USA TODAY, "Mississippi mayor faces backlash for George Floyd comments: 'I didn't see anything unreasonable'," 28 May 2020 Protesters eventually made their way to a police precinct, where some demonstrators damaged windows and sprayed graffiti, according to the Associated Press. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Minneapolis Police Fire Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets at Crowds Protesting George Floyd Killing," 27 May 2020 Many protesters marched more than 2 miles to the police precinct station in that part of the city, with some damaging the building’s windows and squad cars and spraying graffiti. Amy Forliti And Jeff Baenen, The Christian Science Monitor, "Another Eric Garner? Minnesota cops fired for Floyd's death.," 27 May 2020 Some students at Syracuse University left the campus in November after being rattled by racist and anti-Semitic incidents, including racist graffiti scrawled on dormitory walls and anti-Semitic emails sent to faculty members. Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, "‘A tale of two schools’: At Georgia Southern, a book-burning ignites questions anew about race," 31 Dec. 2019 Others sprayed graffiti along walls and smashed windows at a subway exit., "HONG KONG — Thousands of protesters regrouped after police fired tear gas at them Sunday and marched along a thoroughfare in downtown Hong Kong in a second straight day of defiance, sparking fears of more violence ahead of China’s National Day.," 30 Sep. 2019 Reuters/Tyrone Siu Police who had earlier been stationed inside to stop protesters from entering all the way ceded the building to the control of the demonstrators, who barricaded corridors and sprayed graffiti on the walls. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "Photos: Protesters storm the legislature on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China," 1 July 2019 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Graffito.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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