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

Duterte has had a thorny relationship with Catholic bishops, who have criticized his bloody anti-drug crackdown and vulgar language and expressed alarm over the killings of three priests in brazen gun attacks in recent months. Jim Gomez, Fox News, "Bishops call for 3-day fasting after Duterte says God stupid," 10 July 2018 Duterte has had a thorny relationship with Catholic bishops, who have criticized his bloody anti-drug crackdown and vulgar language and expressed alarm over the killings of three priests in brazen gun attacks in recent months. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "Bishops call for 3-day fasting after Duterte says God stupid," 9 July 2018 And the first few minutes of Jill Oliver's vulgar, trashy, childish romp reveal unexpected layers of additional idiocy. Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader, "Adventures of Spirit Force Five," 12 July 2018 Spring is loud, spring is vulgar, spring is improbable. Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle, "Thoughts while plucking mummies, 1992," 28 Mar. 2018 While not everyone in the camp Crews identifies as unsupportive speaks of the actor in terms that are as vulgar as Jackson’s, their irritation with Crews’s accounts still functions to discredit both his stories and his masculinity. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Terry Crews and the Discomfort of Masculine Anxiety," 29 June 2018 Donald Trump, by the same token, was surely too erratic and offensive and vulgar and narcissistic and unqualified to get his party’s nomination, let alone run an effective campaign. Michael Ashcroft, Time, "Do Not Doubt Donald Trump. He Could Easily Be Reelected," 29 Mar. 2018 Options were being discussed as phone lines buzzed among Haitian immigrants, who tried to understand why the leader of the free world would put down their nation with so vulgar and demeaning a term. Jeff Gammage,, "Among Philly Haitians, anger - and plans for action - over Trump's vulgar remark," 12 Jan. 2018 Other legislators, including Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Woodland Hills) and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), were disciplined for behaving inappropriately through, respectively, unwanted hugs and vulgar language. John Myers,, "California legislative investigation finds Assemblyman Devon Mathis violated sexual harassment policy," 11 July 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

6 Sep 2018

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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

: 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

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