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

Brash, tireless and in the seclusion of the boardroom wreathed in a cloud of cigar smoke and profanities, Mr Iacocca presented a public image when boss of Chrysler as the patriotic car guy urging his countrymen to buy American. The Economist, "Obituary: Lee Iacocca," 4 July 2019 Moments before, according to reports, Callaway had used profanity while angrily addressing Healey. Des Bieler, The Denver Post, "Mets manager, pitcher Jason Vargas snap in clubhouse confrontation with reporter," 23 June 2019 All the justices seem to agree that Congress can write a new law targeting flat-out profanity or vulgarity as long as only modes of expression—not ideas themselves—are cabined. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Supreme Court strikes down a bar on offensive trademarks," 25 June 2019 Mets Manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas blew up at a beat reporter after Sunday’s loss, using enough profanity the club issued an apology shortly after. Neil Greenberg, The Denver Post, "The NL East was supposed to have four good teams. Turns out it only has one.," 24 June 2019 But three said the ban on scandalous trademarks could serve a legitimate purpose in withholding legal protection from vulgarity and profanity. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on ‘Immoral or Scandalous’ Trademarks," 24 June 2019 Now, front-line officers routinely face verbal abuse and profanity at protests, an unusual phenomenon for members of a body that had long been highly respected. New York Times, "Hong Kong Police, Once Called ‘Asia’s Finest,’ Are Now a Focus of Anger," 24 June 2019 Hamilton said both directed profanity at him, and that Henderson even added a shove to the shoulder, witnessed by Kulesz. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Tension at Troy City Council meeting as fingers point at mayor," 12 June 2019 But the boys continued the profanities with even more fervor. Mai Pham, Orange County Register, "First Person: A Vietnamese American writer finds her identity," 6 June 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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Statistics for profanity

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for profanity

The first known use of profanity was in 1563

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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

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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