pornography

noun
por·​nog·​ra·​phy | \ pȯr-ˈnä-grə-fē How to pronounce pornography (audio) \

Definition of pornography

1 : the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2 : material (such as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction the pornography of violence

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Other Words from pornography

pornographic \ ˌpȯr-​nə-​ˈgra-​fik How to pronounce pornographic (audio) \ adjective
pornographically \ ˌpȯr-​nə-​ˈgra-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pornographically (audio) \ adverb

What is pornography?

For many people, any attempt to define the word pornography calls to mind the oft-quoted line from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1964: “. . . I know it when I see it.” While compilers of dictionaries might wish to be granted such latitude in explaining the meaning of certain words, they are held to a higher standard. Pornography, which has been used in English since the middle of the 19th century, comes from the Greek pornographos (“writing about prostitutes”), and initially referred to visual or written matter designed to cause sexual arousal, a meaning that is still the most common one employed today. Pornography has taken on an additional, non-sexualized, sense: one that refers to a depiction of sensational material (such as violence) in order to elicit a reaction. The phrase “pornography of violence,” for example, began to be used in the early 1950s.

Examples of pornography in a Sentence

If you ask me, his movies are just high-class pornography.

First Known Use of pornography

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pornography

Greek pornographos, adjective, writing about prostitutes, from pornē prostitute + graphein to write; akin to Greek pernanai to sell, poros journey — more at fare, carve

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Learn More about pornography

Time Traveler for pornography

Time Traveler

The first known use of pornography was in 1842

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Statistics for pornography

Cite this Entry

“Pornography.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pornography. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for pornography

pornography

noun
How to pronounce pornography (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pornography

often disapproving : movies, pictures, magazines, etc., that show or describe naked people or sex in a very open and direct way in order to cause sexual excitement

pornography

noun
por·​nog·​ra·​phy | \ pȯr-ˈnä-grə-fē How to pronounce pornography (audio) \

Legal Definition of pornography

: material that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement

Note: Pornographic material is protected expression unless it is determined to be obscene. However, child pornography is illegal under federal and state laws prohibiting the depiction of minors in sexual acts.

Other Words from pornography

pornographer \ pȯr-​ˈnä-​grə-​fər How to pronounce pornographer (audio) \ noun
pornographic \ ˌpȯr-​nə-​ˈgra-​fik How to pronounce pornographic (audio) \ adjective
pornographically adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on pornography

Spanish Central: Translation of pornography

Nglish: Translation of pornography for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pornography for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pornography

Comments on pornography

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