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

The colorful graffiti printed look was originally worn by Gigi Hadid on Off-White's Spring 2019 runway, though Céline left her jacket open for a leggier take. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Celine Dion Wearing No Pants to Paris Couture Week Is Legendary," 1 July 2019 Our resistance graffiti may not be pretty, and creating it is dangerous. Khalid Albaih, Quartz, "We used our art to fight. Now we need it to heal us," 19 June 2019 The Block-by-Block street team is scrubbing downtown St. Paul clean of graffiti. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Downtown St. Paul public art commemorates Zeppelin creator’s first hot-air balloon ride," 17 June 2019 Framed by hip-hop throw downs and graffiti art, this is Latinx history and culture seen through the post-modern prism of potty-mouthed stand-up comedy. Karen D'souza, The Mercury News, "Review: Outrageous ‘Kiss My Aztec!’ premieres at Berkeley Rep," 8 June 2019 The possible change in ordinance is taking place during an unprecedented surge in the popularity or murals and graffiti. Doug Maccash,, "City Council could chop mural permit fee from $500 to $50," 5 June 2019 Three students were arrested Thursday in connection with graffiti at their high school in Howard County, Md., that included a swastika and a racial slur, police said. Rachel Chason, Washington Post, "Three students arrested in connection with a swastika spray-painted at their high school," 24 May 2018 It was covered in paint, decked out in murals and graffiti doodles and designs. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘Make sure more faces won’t be added to this mural’: 16-year-old memorializes slain D.C. teens," 7 June 2018 There were 223 graffiti removal jobs completed near Lincoln Yards in the week ending Wednesday, compared with just two during the same week last year. Lauren Zumbach,, "Graffiti removals spiked near HQ2 sites ahead of Amazon visit this week," 22 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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Statistics for graffito

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for graffito

The first known use of graffito was in 1851

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What made you want to look up graffito? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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