graf·fi·to | \grə-ˈfē-(ˌ)tō, gra-, grä-\
plural graffiti\grə-ˈfē-(ˌ)tē, 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, 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

Kurkulis began experimenting with graffiti in high school before beginning his career in digital graphic design. Morgan Smith,, "Tag, you're it: Native 312 Events hosts a graffiti workshop," 21 June 2018 The confluence of the two events — the imminent destruction of 5Pointz and Banksy’s residency — have made graffiti the talk of New York again. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "Street Art's New Class War," 14 Oct. 2013 After a series of small but unprecedented incidents, the butchers federation says its members need protection from militants who have broken windows, thrown fake blood and sprayed graffiti on their shops. Alissa J. Rubin, New York Times, "Citing Anti-Meat Sentiment, Butchers in France Seek Police Protection," 26 June 2018 In February, a 66-foot-long blue whale carcass was found along the coast of Chile desecrated with graffiti and stomped on by tourists, Fox News had reported. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Blue whale found on California coast died from ship strike, scientists say," 20 June 2018 But the political graffiti scrawled across Dakar’s walls tell a different story. The Economist, "Senegal’s democracy is being tested by its president," 28 June 2018 The graffiti popped up Thursday afternoon under the Eastex Freeway overpass at Creekwood Drive, Sharp said. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Nazi graffiti artists 'need to be sucking in the stench of incarceration,' police chief says," 21 June 2018 Someone has been spraying graffiti around the town of Windsor, England, the site of Saturday's royal wedding, and local authorities are not amused. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Someone is spraying FORK around the royal wedding site. 'The Queen will blow a gasket' | The Kansas City Star," 14 May 2018 But in any case Lajsic said, the city will get the offending graffiti off. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Vandal scars wholesome mural in West Allis," 13 Mar. 2018

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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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for graffito

The first known use of graffito was in 1851

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