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

b : obscene, vulgar

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, 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

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

But the dialogue is punchy, profane, and often very funny, and the performers are genuinely committed. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Hotel Artemis’: Jodie Foster checks in," 7 June 2018 The exchange is too profane to be quoted here, but the combatants are a woman and her foster daughter, and their fight is about a man. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Turning Points: Three Movies Centering on Young Women," 13 Apr. 2018 The dialogue is florid, colorfully profane and convincingly authentic at every turn. David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Unsolved’ launches with gripping probe of Tupac, Biggie killings," 22 Feb. 2018 How has something so profane, so intoxicated and so clothing-resistant continued to ride its unique wave in a world miles less accepting of this kind of sandy fun run amok? Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cover your ears: Over-the-Line evolves, but the raunchy team names remain," 14 July 2018 But in our more profane era, even The New York Times is becoming saltier. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Marco Rubio doesn’t like it when people report other people using the F-bomb.," 29 June 2018 Police also charged Torres-Yebra with disorderly conduct for profane comments made to the victim during the incident. Tara Subramaniam, ajc, "Woman accused of assaulting, severely injuring her ex-boyfriend," 21 June 2018 This followed De Niro's profane outburst at Trump during the Tony awards Sunday night, which was quickly bleeped by TV censors while many in the audience stood and cheered. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Robert De Niro has dumped on Trump for years; why did POTUS wait so long to punch back?," 12 June 2018 At the 2018 Tony Awards the actor and director gave a brief, profane, and pointless outburst about President Trump. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Robert De Niro’s Toothless Protest," 11 June 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

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

the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!