pru·​ri·​ent ˈpru̇r-ē-ənt How to pronounce prurient (audio)
: marked by or arousing an immoderate or unwholesome interest or desire
especially : marked by, arousing, or appealing to sexual desire
pruriently adverb

Example Sentences

He took a prurient interest in her personal life. a book that appealed to the prurient curiosity of its readers
Recent Examples on the Web Even if TikTok does have prurient qualities, aren’t Republicans about personal responsibility? John Tamny, Forbes, 19 Dec. 2022 And yet, despite those taglines, and despite the title, the film isn’t a prurient cautionary tale about a girl gone wild. Vulture, 26 May 2022 In the closing days of the contest, the Protect and Serve Texas PAC unleashed a barrage of attacks on Lowe, who a decade ago reserved internet domain names, including a few prurient ones, such as Dallas News, 24 May 2022 The movie should hit harder because a prurient party-fest with dark undertones of creeping irrelevance and impermanence seems ready-made to thrill us, if not move us. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 23 Dec. 2022 The campaign learns of it, and the campaign pleads its case that the material is merely prurient and that publishing it would be gratuitous and not in the public interest. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 5 Dec. 2022 Both doctors took advantage of young women to satisfy their prurient desires. Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2022 But the story about the undersecretary and the African American train porters was simply too prurient to print. James Kirchick, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 Watching this trial has felt alternatingly prurient and surreal, the kind of trial in which Marilyn Manson is casually listed as a Thanksgiving dinner guest at one of Johnny Depp’s penthouses. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 1 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prurient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Latin prurient-, pruriens, present participle of prurire to itch, crave; akin to Latin pruna glowing coal, Sanskrit ploṣati he singes, and probably to Latin pruina hoarfrost — more at freeze

First Known Use

1592, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prurient was in 1592

Dictionary Entries Near prurient

Cite this Entry

“Prurient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


pru·​ri·​ent ˈpru̇r-ē-ənt How to pronounce prurient (audio)
: having or revealing indecent desires or thoughts
pruriently adverb

Legal Definition


pru·​ri·​ent ˈpru̇r-ē-ənt How to pronounce prurient (audio)
: marked by or arousing an unwholesome sexual interest or desire
pruriently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on prurient

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