obscene

adjective
ob·​scene | \ äb-ˈsēn How to pronounce obscene (audio) , 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

Jones faces one count of prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor and two counts of distribution of obscene material to a minor. Rocky Baier, azcentral, "Kentucky man arrested on suspicion of sending explicit photos to undercover Pinal County detective," 27 June 2019 With Jones' camera rolling, the man confronted by the producer, wearing a gray shirt, turned his back to the camera and made an obscene gesture. Fox News, "Lawrence Jones reacts to racist comments at 'Impeach Trump' rally: 'This is who these people are'," 18 June 2019 Rave to my Muslim friend for returning their hateful, obscene gestures with a warm, gracious smile, modeling the truth that love wins and inviting all of us to welcome the strangers among us, not to demonize them. Seattle Times Readers, The Seattle Times, "Rant & Rave: Let’s hear it for the Sounders band," 19 May 2019 Williamson was arrested around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday on suspicion of three charges of furnishing obscene material to a minor. Serena O'sullivan, azcentral, "Phoenix man suspected of sexually abusing 12-year-old babysitter," 6 June 2019 For their part, cyclists have complained about drivers seemingly trying to run them off the road and displaying obscene gestures at them. Jerry Fallstrom, orlandosentinel.com, "Resurfaced Sugarloaf Mountain Road offers smoother ride for cyclists: ‘The road really looks nice’," 6 June 2019 Deep in the hold of the incoming ship a bale of rags, invoiced as paper stock, may conceal a score of narcotics, liquor, jewelry, forbidden bird plumes, obscene books, or any one of a hundred other articles, either forbidden or heavily taxed. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Rewind: What Guarding Uncle Sam's Borders Was Like in 1925," 11 Feb. 2019 The game is, in many ways, a typical open-world action game, with a huge city to explore, an obscene number of collectibles to find, and lots of bad guys to beat up. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The 15 best video games of 2018," 17 Dec. 2018 The e-mails which Fox News has heavily redacted because of the extremely obscene language are being investigated by the Department of Justice as a potential threat. Fox News, "Haley on the New York Times, Kavanaugh and US foreign policy," 20 Sep. 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

6 Jul 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 How to pronounce obscene (audio) , əb-\

Kids Definition of obscene

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

obscene

adjective
ob·​scene | \ äb-ˈsēn How to pronounce obscene (audio) \

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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