vul·​gar | \ ˈvəl-gər How to pronounce vulgar (audio) \

Definition of vulgar

1a : lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste : coarse
b : morally crude, undeveloped, or unregenerate : gross
c : ostentatious or excessive in expenditure or display : pretentious
2a : offensive in language : earthy
b : lewdly or profanely indecent
3a : generally used, applied, or accepted
b : understood in or having the ordinary sense they reject the vulgar conception of miracle— W. R. Inge
4 : vernacular the vulgar name of a plant
5a : of or relating to the common people : plebeian
b : generally current : public the vulgar opinion of that time
c : of the usual, typical, or ordinary kind

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Other Words from vulgar

vulgarly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for vulgar

common, ordinary, plain, familiar, popular, vulgar mean generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual. common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence a common error lacked common honesty and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness. common manners ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things. an ordinary pleasant summer day a very ordinary sort of man plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity. plain hard-working people familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized. a familiar melody popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups. a writer of popular romances vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness). souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste

coarse, vulgar, gross, obscene, ribald mean offensive to good taste or morals. coarse implies roughness, rudeness, or crudeness of spirit, behavior, or language. found the coarse humor of coworkers offensive vulgar often implies boorishness or ill-breeding. a loud vulgar belch gross implies extreme coarseness and insensitiveness. gross eating habits obscene applies to anything strongly repulsive to the sense of decency and propriety especially in sexual matters. obscene language not allowed on the air ribald applies to what is amusingly or picturesquely vulgar or irreverent or mildly indecent. entertained the campers with ribald folk songs

Examples of vulgar in a Sentence

He was a vulgar man. She had a coarse, vulgar laugh. I will not tolerate such vulgar language in my home.
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Recent Examples on the Web Dan O'Donnell, a conservative talk show host for WISN-AM (1130), recently compiled a list of more than a dozen tweets in which Ross called a number of Republicans and Fox News personalities a wide range of vulgar names and expletives. Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bice: New state Ethics Commission member defends tweeting obscene images of Michigan protesters," 5 May 2020 The old show was able to sidestep questions of social equality as being too vulgar to ask. Laurence Scott, Wired, "Star Trek: Picard, Fancy Sheets, and the Meaning of Home," 28 Mar. 2020 But now, the sometimes rageful and vulgar world of traditional online gaming, which has been popular for years, is colliding with public platforms, an influx of new eyeballs and public figures within the multimillion-dollar racing industry. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "NASCAR, Chip Ganassi suspend Kyle Larson after driver uses racial slur in iRacing event," 13 Apr. 2020 Mississippi Moss Point: The mayor says his online meeting was hacked with vulgar and racist words and images because of his recent comments about the new coronavirus in his city. USA TODAY, "‘Covidiots,’ small victories, a tracking app: News from around our 50 states," 9 Apr. 2020 People still think this show, about a gang of vulgar fourth-grade boys, their families, and the extended, eccentric everytown of South Park, Colorado, is important. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, "Watching South Park at the End of the World," 3 Apr. 2020 One can lean on it like a cane when one is embarrassed by misplaced laughter, uncomfortable with vulgar society or with oneself on account of a word or a laugh that one regrets. Florence Noiville, Harper's Magazine, "Terms of Art," 30 Mar. 2020 And yet the world turns out not to work on these merrily vulgar lines. Douglas Murray, National Review, "After Brexit, Britain Carries On," 20 Feb. 2020 Huff also draws stick-figure cartoons making fun of his political opponents and other targets, including a vulgar one of a doctor with a transgender patient. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "San Francisco Giants don't invite former player Aubrey Huff to 2010 World Series reunion over "unacceptable" tweets," 18 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vulgar.' 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 vulgar

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for vulgar

Middle English, from Latin vulgaris of the mob, vulgar, from volgus, vulgus mob, common people

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Time Traveler for vulgar

Time Traveler

The first known use of vulgar was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vulgar

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vulgar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce vulgar (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vulgar

disapproving : not having or showing good manners, good taste, or politeness
: relating to the common people or the speech of common people


vul·​gar | \ ˈvəl-gər How to pronounce vulgar (audio) \

Kids Definition of vulgar

1 : having or showing poor taste or manners : coarse vulgar table manners
2 : offensive in language or subject matter a vulgar joke

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More from Merriam-Webster on vulgar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vulgar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vulgar

Spanish Central: Translation of vulgar

Nglish: Translation of vulgar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vulgar for Arabic Speakers

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