profane

verb
pro·​fane | \ prō-ˈfān How to pronounce profane (audio) , 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

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Other Words from profane

Verb

profaner noun

Adjective

profanely adverb
profaneness \ prō-​ˈfān-​nəs How to pronounce profaneness (audio) , 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

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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

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

Like Borat, the online world is profane and disorderly and constantly agitated; the wife, on the other hand, is imagined as sacred, eternal, controlled. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "Please, My Wife, She’s Very Online," 5 June 2019 Still others say that the encroaching role of politics in such broadcasts — including regular denunciations of President Trump, such as Robert De Niro’s profane comments at the Tonys — has taken its toll, as well. John Koblin, New York Times, "TV Ratings for Tonys Go Up, Bucking an Award-Show Trend," 11 June 2018 According to the criminal complaint: Dallet contacted investigators Nov. 13 to report harassing emails and profane and defamatory comments posted about Dallet on blogs and websites. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man charged with defaming Rebecca Dallet during campaign for Supreme Court," 1 May 2018 As The Washington Post first reported, Trump made the profane comment while discussing immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "Watch a pastor light into President Trump — with Vice President Pence sitting in the front pew," 16 Jan. 2018 Related stories from Sacramento Bee Jurors fight tears as families of officers killed by Luis Bracamontes tell stories of loss Will cop killer's profane tirades make this jury sentence him to death? Sam Stanton, sacbee, "'I could feel him getting cold.' Mother of slain detective describes last moments with her son | The Sacramento Bee," 7 Mar. 2018 For example, Life Time in Troy does not, according to rules on its website, permit vulgar or profane communications. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, "Healthy or censorship? Life Time's ban of cable network news is just sad," 12 Jan. 2018 Legere tapped social media and corporate events to perfect the in-your-face, attention-grabbing, gratuitously profane counter-corporate culture of T-Mobile. Mark Davis, kansascity, "Future Sprint boss John Legere, T-Mobile’s un-CEO: Is that a show or his real self?," 7 May 2018 This month, members of both parties called Trump a racist for his profane description of African nations. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Trump sticking to economic script in his first State of the Union address," 27 Jan. 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)

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

profane

adjective

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

formal
: having or showing disrespect for religious things
: relating to ordinary life : not religious or spiritual

profane

adjective
pro·​fane | \ prō-ˈfān How to pronounce profane (audio) \

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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