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

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Other Words from profane

Verb

profaner noun

Adjective

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

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
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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

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 Other witnesses testified about receiving profane or verbally abusive emails from the governor’s top aides. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "Culture of Fear and Ambition Distorted Cuomo’s Economic Projects," 5 July 2018 At one point in Beijing, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Navarro engaged in a profane shouting match while squabbling over the U.S. approach to the talks. David J. Lynch, chicagotribune.com, "Popularity of tariffs on China may lead to political pain for Trump," 23 June 2018 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for profane

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Time Traveler for profane

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

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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

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Comments on profane

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noxious or harmful

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