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

Sanders told Fox News on the morning after the vulgar rant aired. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Samantha Bee speaks out about crude Ivanka Trump rant, says uproar affected her ‘a lot’," 12 July 2018 Companies can ignore valid complaints if the overall tone of the requests is vulgar or threatening. Christopher Elliott,, "Got a complaint about the travel industry? Take it to the top," 26 June 2018 The production company cut ties with Miss America last year after learning about the previous leaders’ exchange of emails that included sometimes vulgar comments about past pageant winners. Valerie Bauerlein, WSJ, "Miss America’s Finances Uncertain as It Fights for Relevance," 3 Aug. 2018 Fans who are vulgar and personal cross the line, absolutely, but golfers also need to develop thicker skins. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, "Limit alcohol to fans, but golfers also need thicker skin," 21 Mar. 2018 The documents say Bush called Sarah Selden vulgar names, threw things at her, and once gave her a black eye., "The week in business," 2 June 2018 Molina went after manager Torey Lovullo, who had questioned ball-strike calls and called the catcher a vulgar name in trying to make his point to umpire Tim Timmons. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cardinals 5, Brewers 3 (11): Bullpen blows leads in ninth, 10th innings before decisive HR," 10 Apr. 2018 Politely known as Failure Nights (the series actually has a more vulgar name), the practice is part of a worldwide movement that started in Mexico and now has spread to more than 250 cities in 80 countries. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Meanwhile in ... Sierra Leone, restaurant owner teaches prostitutes to cook, run business," 5 Apr. 2018 He was suspended for two weeks after calling President Obama a vulgar name. Fox News, "Mainstream media bash Bolton," 26 Mar. 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

31 May 2019

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Time Traveler for vulgar

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vulgar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vulgar

Spanish Central: Translation of vulgar

Nglish: Translation of vulgar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vulgar for Arabic Speakers

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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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