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

Brown bragged about the incident in profane text messages that are copied in the lawsuit. Ben Shpigel, SFChronicle.com, "Report: Antonio Brown accused of rape, sexual assault in Florida," 10 Sep. 2019 What is profane is losing the life of a high school student in that shooting yesterday. CBS News, "Beto O'Rourke campaign sells profane T-shirts to support gun control," 2 Sep. 2019 Be respectful — not profane, offensive or inflammatory. Los Angeles Times, "Commenting guidelines," 16 July 2019 Adam Mansbach, whose breakout book Go the F‑‑‑ to Sleep was recorded by Samuel L. Jackson to viral acclaim, has completely shaken up the children’s lit space with his profane, candid, and deeply hilarious odes to the trials of parenthood. David Canfield, EW.com, "Larry David to record next bedtime story from Go the F‑‑‑ to Sleep author," 30 Aug. 2019 Ruby’s macabre, profane, manipulative, racist mother-in-law is a major insider with the criminal gang that the women are battling. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“The Kitchen,” Reviewed: An Engrossing Mob-Wife Drama That’s Relegated to a Table Read," 8 Aug. 2019 From the hundreds of pages of profane, sexist and homophobic messages, many Puerto Ricans focused on one exchange in particular — a joke about bodies accumulating after Hurricane Maria decimated the island in September 2017. Los Angeles Times, "Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello clings to power amid rumors he’ll step down," 24 July 2019 The leak was explosive because it was packed with profane, derogatory, and offensive remarks toward all kinds of people in Puerto Rican life. Zeeshan Aleem, Vox, "Puerto Rico’s week of massive protests, explained," 20 July 2019 Yankees manager Aaron Boone served a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball, a day after going viral for a profane rant aimed at a rookie umpire in a doubleheader opener against the Rays. Jake Seiner, courant.com, "Encarnacion, ex-Rockies help Yankees beat Colorado 8-2," 20 July 2019

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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