vul·​gar | \ˈvəl-gər \

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

Some have worried that Trump's vulgar comments might embolden men to also disrespect women and repeat patterns of misogyny and harassment. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Man Arrested for Groping Woman on Flight Tells Police That Donald Trump 'Says It's OK'," 23 Oct. 2018 The vernacular idiom that Hurston valued Wright and others deprecated as backward; her literary concern with romantic love was considered frivolous and even vulgar. Emily Bernard, The New Republic, "Zora Neale Hurston’s drive to tell the story of the slave trade’s last survivor," 19 June 2018 Last week, President Donald Trump made a vulgar reference to all-black nations in a meeting about immigration policy, citing Haiti and countries on the continent of Africa. Mark Curnutte,, "Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Cincinnati marchers ask: 'If not now, when?'," 15 Jan. 2018 Before leaving May’s government, Johnson had likened her Brexit proposal to excrement, using a more vulgar term. Laura King,, "British Prime Minister May's government appears in turmoil amid resignations tied to Brexit," 9 July 2018 Bee had called Ivanka Trump a vulgar term in an attempt to encourage her to speak to her father about changing a policy where children of people entering the country illegally are being detained. Washington Post, "Samantha Bee is back, both angry and apologetic," 7 June 2018 Bee had called Ivanka Trump a vulgar term in an attempt to encourage her to speak to her father about changing a policy where children of people entering the country illegally are being detained. NBC News, "Samantha Bee returns to 'Full Frontal' after Ivanka Trump insult," 7 June 2018 On Friday morning, President Trump called for TBS to fire the comedian Samantha Bee for using a vulgar term to describe his daughter, Ivanka, on the most recent episode of Full Frontal. Rob Tornoe,, "Trump doesn't like a word Samantha Bee used. But that's what he called an Inquirer reporter," 1 June 2018 Others said their male bosses routinely used a vulgar term for a woman's anatomy to describe rivals in and out of the company. Jeff Manning,, "Nike's challenges in #me-too era prompts big media attention," 28 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for vulgar

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for vulgar

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

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More Definitions for vulgar



English Language Learners Definition of vulgar

: 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 \

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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Comments on vulgar

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


noxious or harmful

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