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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Some Twitter users called the apology disingenuous, pointing out that Szeliga’s use of profanity to describe her colleagues in private would have been equally inappropriate. Lillian Reed, Baltimore Sun, 26 Mar. 2022 The part comes loaded with quotable lines, the most iconic being a piece of profanity shouted by Hurt at a corpse that, only seconds earlier, used to work for him. Joshua Rothkopf,, 14 Mar. 2022 There were no immediate reports of injuries, but residents were shaken, often invoking Mr. Putin’s name with a torrent of profanity. New York Times, 7 Mar. 2022 Upset, Paul reacted at referee JT Orr, who hit him with a technical for use of profanity. Duane Rankin, USA TODAY, 21 Feb. 2022 Upset, Paul reacted at referee JT Orr, who hit him with a technical for use of profanity. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 20 Feb. 2022 The piece quotes Tiziano Lugli, Moss’ former friend who left the church, about language and, more specifically, profanity’s use within Scientology. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Apr. 2022 When Jackson exited the vehicle, Dickey barked profanity at him before forcing his head through the plate-glass window of a nearby motorcycle shop. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Agents arrested McDonald Tuesday at his home, where a search turned a similar note using the N-word and profanity to threaten the recipient to return to the north side of Milwaukee. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near profanity



profanum vulgus

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Statistics for profanity

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Profanity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for profanity


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

More from Merriam-Webster on profanity

Nglish: Translation of profanity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of profanity for Arabic Speakers


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