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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The man walked toward police and shouted profanities at them. Bob Sandrick,, "Creepy, crawling, zombie-like man arrested; shoplifter denies ownership of his own pants: Brook Park Police Blotter," 7 June 2019 Trump reversed course by the end of that week and used profanity to insult countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Steven T. Dennis, Fortune, "Why Trump Ally Lindsey Graham Is Also the Democrats' Go-To Guy," 7 June 2019 Police say witnesses on scene told officers that the incident started when Mills was sitting on a bench, shouting profanities regarding the train. Laney Ruckstuhl,, "Man attacks MBTA worker at Alewife station," 4 June 2018 The witnesses said Clemons and Adams loudly shouted profanity at the Waffle House employees. Alex Horton,, "A woman was tackled to the ground by police at a Alabama Waffle House. The police are defending the arrest.," 23 Apr. 2018 Both cars turned on their overhead lights as protesters, weaving through traffic, crowded around the first patrol car, waving signs and shouting profanities. Alene Tchekmedyian,, "Sheriff says deputy probably didn't realize he'd struck protester at Stephon Clark rally," 3 Apr. 2018 There, while shouting profanities and yelling for 40 minutes at police and nursing staff, Goodlad thrashed about so violently that police thought the bed railings to which his arms were secured were going to break, the complaint said. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha man charged following violent struggle with bar staff and police after he was kicked out of tavern," 22 Mar. 2018 Authorities in this ultraconservative kingdom once sent Mohamed Al-Ghamdi to jail for making hip-hop videos laced with profanity. Donna Abdulaziz, WSJ, "For Saudi Arabia’s Growing Hip-Hop Scene, It’s Tricky," 10 Aug. 2018 The next post described, with detail and profanity, how her mother Dee Dee had been killed and how Gypsy Rose herself had been raped. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "How True Is 'The Act'? The Hulu Series' Backstory Is Chilling," 20 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of profanity

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about profanity

Statistics for profanity

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for profanity

The first known use of profanity was in 1563

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for profanity



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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on profanity

What made you want to look up profanity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!