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 The commission also publicly admonished Connolly in 2016 for abusing his authority and mistreating a defense lawyer and privately admonished him in 2010 for using profanity in his chambers and during discussions with lawyers. Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times, "California judicial watchdog commission admonishes L.A. judge for third time," 2 Apr. 2021 For his bravado and, at times, profanity, Clark appeared to have a keen sense of right and wrong. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Neil Clark: How an indicted Statehouse lobbyist became a prized source amid the House Bill 6 scandal," 21 Mar. 2021 Among the remarks the ex-Ohio congressman added, which were not in the original manuscript, was a profanity directed at Texas' junior senator. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Ex-House Speaker John Boehner, recording memoir's audio, gives Ted Cruz some colorful advice," 26 Feb. 2021 Edward Benecchi said residents have complained, saying neighborhood kids and students passing on school buses should not have to see such profanity. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Profane anti-Biden flag causing controversy in Connecticut, around the nation," 19 Feb. 2021 Some Web sites, for instance, might require detection of threats but not profanity, while others might have the opposite requirements. James Thewlis, Scientific American, "Can AI Identify Toxic Online Content?," 8 Feb. 2021 Since that time, more streamers have taken to banning certain words from tip alerts with the services’ profanity filters. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Gaming Sites Are Still Letting Streamers Profit From Hate," 4 Feb. 2021 Capriotti has a history of calling lawmakers and leaving profanity-laden messages, dating back to 2019. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "FBI arrests man it says threatened to kill Democrats at White House," 12 Jan. 2021 By the end of his appearance, Wilson accused reporters of corruption in a profanity-laden rant and walked away. Darcy Costello, USA TODAY, "Breonna Taylor evidence leaks appear to show charged Louisville officer in her unit after shooting," 28 Sep. 2020

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 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Profanity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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

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Comments on profanity

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