profane

verb
pro·​fane | \ prō-ˈfān, prə-\
profaned; profaning

Definition of profane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt : desecrate
2 : to debase by a wrong, unworthy, or vulgar use

profane

adjective

Definition of profane (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : not concerned with religion or religious purposes : secular
2 : not holy because unconsecrated, impure, or defiled : unsanctified
3a : serving to debase or defile what is holy : irreverent
4a : not being among the initiated
b : not possessing esoteric or expert knowledge

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from profane

Verb

profaner noun

Adjective

profanely adverb
profaneness \ prō-​ˈfān-​nəs , prə-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for profane

Synonyms: Verb

abase, bastardize, canker, cheapen, corrupt, debase, debauch, degrade, demean, demoralize, deprave, deteriorate, lessen, pervert, poison, prostitute, subvert, vitiate, warp

Synonyms: Adjective

nonreligious, secular, temporal

Antonyms: Verb

elevate, ennoble, uplift

Antonyms: Adjective

religious, sacred

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of profane in a Sentence

Verb

the once-lovely landscape had been profaned by ugly factories profaned his considerable acting talents by appearing in some wretched movies

Adjective

it was hard to juggle the requirements of church and our more profane duties offended by the profane language that her coworkers used so casually
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

By targeting a house of worship, rather than a private home or business, the attacker has committed a powerful symbolic transgression: profaning a space that is both sacred and communal. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "An assailant killed at least 11 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.," 27 Oct. 2018 And even in the Trump administration, the idea of profaning one of the president’s most precious assets in his relationship with the conservative movement and the GOP by putting a TV judge on the nation’s highest court is hair-raising. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Wanted to Make Fox News Pundit Pirro a Supreme Court Justice," 7 June 2018 There’s a way certain things—death, extreme poverty—are deemed so tragic that they cannot be profaned, they can only be spoken of reverently or seriously. Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, "Jenny Zhang: 'Tiny Stories' Are Vital to Literature," 13 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Last week, James' profane comments about President Donald Trump drew criticism from Fox News host Laura Ingraham. CBS News, "After NBA All-Star game, LeBron James fires back at Fox News host," 19 Feb. 2018 The sacred and profane collide on a regular basis in this violent, cartoony adaptation of comics created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon in 1995. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Preacher ends third season with a pop, not a bang," 28 Aug. 2018 So what if the language is harsher, more profane than Ned Flanders would prefer? Chuck Yarborough, cleveland.com, "Like it or not, rapper Kendrick Lamar deserves the Pulitzer Prize: Chuck Yarborough," 17 Apr. 2018 Author Adam Mansbach used his own struggles as material for this very adult bedtime story, in which a loving dad becomes increasingly unhinged and profane. Redbook, ""Go the F--k to Sleep": Don't Swear at the Baby, Please!," 2 July 2011 Easiest to understand is this: Camp encompasses everything and anything that is considered by most to be naturally humorous, ridiculous, or profane in our collective culture. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "A Met Gala Is Born! Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, and Serena Williams Will Cochair Fashion’s Biggest Night in 2019—Here’s What It Means," 12 Oct. 2018 Current Time 0:00 / Duration 0:00 Audio of Councilwoman Pam Roach’s profane outburst in a public meeting SHARE COPY LINK A transcript of the moment follows. Sean Robinson, The Seattle Times, "Pam Roach drops F-bomb on her son at Pierce County Council meeting," 10 Oct. 2018 Priebus hasn’t gone on a late-night TV tour like Sean Spicer; or attempted to launch a nebulous Web site like his profane nemesis Anthony Scaramucci; or promoted himself as the mastermind behind a bigoted Alabama Senate candidate like Steve Bannon. Chris Smith, The Hive, "Robert Mueller Is Facing His Biggest Question Yet: Should He Prosecute the Cover-Up Before He’s Certain There’s a Crime?," 29 Sep. 2017 Announcers became more profane as the results pour in on election night 2016. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "President Trump taunts his political skeptics while preparing second nominee to Supreme Court," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'profane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of profane

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for profane

Verb

Middle English prophanen, from Anglo-French prophaner, from Latin profanare, from profanus

Adjective

Middle English prophane, from Middle French, from Latin profanus, from pro- before + fanum temple — more at pro-, feast

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about profane

Statistics for profane

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for profane

The first known use of profane was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for profane

profane

verb

English Language Learners Definition of profane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to treat (a holy place or object) with great disrespect

profane

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of profane (Entry 2 of 2)

: having or showing disrespect for religious things

: relating to ordinary life : not religious or spiritual

profane

adjective
pro·​fane | \ prō-ˈfān \

Kids Definition of profane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: showing disrespect for God or holy things

profane

verb
profaned; profaning

Kids Definition of profane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to treat (something sacred) with great disrespect

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on profane

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!