obscene

adjective
ob·​scene | \ äb-ˈsēn, əb-\

Definition of obscene 

1 : disgusting to the senses : repulsive
2a : abhorrent to morality or virtue specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity … the dance often becomes flagrantly obscene and definitely provocative … — Margaret Mead
b : containing or being language regarded as taboo in polite usage obscene lyrics obscene literature
c : repulsive by reason of crass disregard of moral or ethical principles an obscene misuse of power
d : so excessive as to be offensive obscene wealth obscene waste

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Other Words from obscene

obscenely adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for obscene

coarse, vulgar, gross, obscene, ribald mean offensive to good taste or morals. coarse implies roughness, rudeness, or crudeness of spirit, behavior, or language. found the coarse humor of coworkers offensive vulgar often implies boorishness or ill-breeding. a loud vulgar belch gross implies extreme coarseness and insensitiveness. gross eating habits obscene applies to anything strongly repulsive to the sense of decency and propriety especially in sexual matters. obscene language not allowed on the air ribald applies to what is amusingly or picturesquely vulgar or irreverent or mildly indecent. entertained the campers with ribald folk songs

Examples of obscene in a Sentence

He was accused of making obscene phone calls. He made an obscene gesture at the driver who cut him off. The company's executives earn obscene salaries. He spends an obscene amount of money on clothes.
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Recent Examples on the Web

While gross distortions of income have historically sometimes led to revolts, the real concern isn’t whether someone like Mark Zuckerberg makes an obscene income, but whether or not quality of life improves over time. Stephen Horwitz, WSJ, "Two Blueprints to Make America Great Again," 9 Dec. 2018 Claire wore it during her lunch breaks while working in a real estate office making copies, retrieving keys, answering phones, and sending me obscene faxes at my own soulless office job. Sara Petersen, Vox, "Why do we stop giving meaningful gifts to our friends?," 3 Dec. 2018 The children listen and drink in every obscene word. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Judgement and Epiphany on Pittsburgh’s Number 79 Bus," 11 May 2018 The old popular theaters, from the medieval times, were obscene actually. Allison Keyes, Smithsonian, "Illuminating the Shadowy Art of Armenian Puppet Theater," 13 July 2018 Some opposing fans even got into disparaging arguments that saw both sides slinging obscene personal insults. Marci Robin, Allure, "Tom Ford Named a New Boys & Girls Lipstick After Cardi B and It Sparked a Heated Debate on Instagram," 9 Sep. 2018 As to be expected, there’s a crazy rich amount of designer gowns, over-the-top moments, and an overall obscene display of opulence featured in Crazy Rich Asians. Andrea Cheng, Glamour, "The Best Part of the Crazy Rich Asians Fashion Is the Revival of the Getting-Dressed Montage," 17 Aug. 2018 Tate, a rising junior, didn’t take over as Arizona’s starting quarterback until the fifth game of the season and proceeded to put up obscene offensive numbers. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "Khalil Tate Doesn’t Seem to Want Arizona to Hire Ken Niumatalolo," 12 Jan. 2018 Heisey, who told The Post he’s never called Woodard, was charged with a misdemeanor for using obscene language with the intent to coerce, intimidate or harass another person. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, "He once defended the poor in court. Now he defends white supremacists.," 2 July 2018

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

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obscene

Middle French, from Latin obscenus, obscaenus

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Dictionary Entries near obscene

obrok

obrotund

obround

obscene

obsceneness

obscenity

obscurant

Statistics for obscene

Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obscene

The first known use of obscene was in 1593

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More Definitions for obscene

obscene

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of obscene

: relating to sex in an indecent or offensive way

: very offensive in usually a shocking way

: so large an amount or size as to be very shocking or unfair

obscene

adjective
ob·​scene | \ äb-ˈsēn, əb-\

Kids Definition of obscene

: very shocking to a person's sense of what is moral or decent

obscene

adjective
ob·​scene | \ äb-ˈsēn \

Legal Definition of obscene 

: extremely or deeply offensive according to contemporary community standards of morality or decency — see also Roth v. United States

Note: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that obscene applies to materials that appeal predominantly to a prurient interest in sexual conduct, depict or describe sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Material or expression deemed obscene by the court is not protected by the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

History and Etymology for obscene

Middle French, from Latin obscenus obscaenus indecent, lewd

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More from Merriam-Webster on obscene

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obscene

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obscene

Spanish Central: Translation of obscene

Nglish: Translation of obscene for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obscene for Arabic Speakers

Comments on obscene

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