pro·​fan·​i·​ty | \ prō-ˈfa-nə-tē How to pronounce profanity (audio) , prə- \
plural profanities

Definition of profanity

1a : the quality or state of being profane
b : the use of profane language
2a : profane language
b : an utterance of profane language

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Examples of profanity in a Sentence

The comic uses too much profanity. My mom will not tolerate profanity. I have never heard my father utter a single profanity.
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Recent Examples on the Web Woods has a 3 ½-hour meeting with his players every September before practice starts and sets the rules — no profanity, haircuts above the ear, clean-shaven, shirts always tucked. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "'Old-school' Rodney Woods helped build Wayne County into 12th Region power," 4 Mar. 2020 The woman was arrested, then became combative, using profanity and racial insults and physically resisting the officers. cleveland, "Police officer suffers concussion after intoxicated woman kicks his face: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 28 Feb. 2020 This time around, Democratic delegate Dawn Adams joined him in his effort to relax the rules on profanity. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Letting an F-bomb fly in public in Virginia used to cost you a $250 fine. Not anymore," 21 Feb. 2020 In the profanity-laced recordings, Capri threatens and intimidates developers in an attempt to squeeze cash out of the Rascal Flatts projects. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "Federal judge closes Arizona courtroom during ex-mobster Frank Capri's detention hearing," 18 Feb. 2020 The company isn’t saying how much profanity is in the collar’s vocabulary, but a video on the MSCHF website features the F-word and a synonym for poop. Mary Colurso |, al, "When your dog barks, the Cuss Collar lets out a ‘@#%!’," 17 Feb. 2020 There are, by my count, three remaining real profanities in American English, words that may be uttered in polite society only transgressively. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Okay, Sooners," 13 Feb. 2020 Many of the responses were laced with profanity, as well as suggestions for ex-girlfriends who should be swatted. Sheera Frenkel, New York Times, "People Are Calling SWAT Teams to Tech Executives’ Homes," 23 Jan. 2020 Here’s how to make profanity part of your smartphone’s vernacular. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "How to teach your phone to curse," 17 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'profanity.' 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 profanity

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for profanity

Time Traveler

The first known use of profanity was in 1563

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Statistics for profanity

Last Updated

11 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profanity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for profanity


How to pronounce profanity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of profanity

: offensive language
: an offensive word


pro·​fan·​i·​ty | \ prō-ˈfa-nə-tē How to pronounce profanity (audio) \
plural profanities

Kids Definition of profanity

: language that is offensive or disrespectful

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Comments on profanity

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