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 And the day before the Racine synagogue was vandalized, a synagogue in Michigan was tagged with similar racist graffiti. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Oak Creek man, alleged member of neo-Nazi group 'The Base,' charged with vandalizing Racine synagogue," 17 Jan. 2020 Others sprayed graffiti along walls, and smashed windows and lobbed gasoline bombs at subway exits. NBC News, "More violence grips Hong Kong ahead of China's National Day," 29 Sep. 2019 But as the city government’s desktops, hard drives and printers flickered back to life for the first time in five days, residents still could not pay their traffic tickets or water bills online, or report potholes or graffiti on a city website. Alan Blinder And Nicole Perlroth,, "Atlanta hobbled by major cyber attack that mayor calls ‘a hostage situation’," 28 Mar. 2018 Tallahassee Police say 20 incidents of graffiti were reported to its airport unit from December 2018 to December 2019. Devon M. Sayers And Theresa Waldrop, CNN, "Commercial pilot charged after allegedly writing racist graffiti on bathroom wall," 20 Jan. 2020 Two men are behind bars in connection to a string of gang graffiti painted in locations around Boaz. Leada Gore |, al, "2 arrested for gang graffiti; suspect found with spray paint in his car," 13 Dec. 2019 Very small graffiti uncovered in Pompeii, which had been destroyed by a volcano, had been little noticed for decades. National Geographic, "How can small clues further big discoveries?," 30 Dec. 2019 Kerala natives involved in the protests in Delhi were even using Malayalam language graffiti using expletives, reportedly, before the city police headquarters. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "Italian folk songs to “azaadi” chants: Angry Indian students get innovative with protests," 16 Dec. 2019 Police observed new graffiti Nov. 24 on the northwest portion of the Northbrook Water Tower in the 1200 block of First Street and on a snowplow., "At least 5 packages reported stolen from porches of Northbrook homes: Police," 3 Dec. 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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Statistics for graffito

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Graffito.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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