Definition of pornography
- the pornography of violence
If you ask me, his movies are just high-class pornography.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pornography.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
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