vulgar

adjective

vul·​gar ˈvəl-gər How to pronounce vulgar (audio)
1
a
: lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste : coarse
b
: morally crude, undeveloped, or unregenerate : gross
c
: ostentatious or excessive in expenditure or display : pretentious
2
a
: offensive in language : earthy
b
: lewdly or profanely indecent
3
a
: generally used, applied, or accepted
b
: understood in or having the ordinary sense
they reject the vulgar conception of miracleW. R. Inge
4
: vernacular
the vulgar name of a plant
5
a
: 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
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Maher used a vulgar term to describe the stars who no longer want to work with Allen and argued that the director and writer also was investigated on the assault allegations but never charged with a crime. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 17 Apr. 2024 When Flack clarified and said that, actually, the work was incredibly earnest, the critics withdrew their praise and labeled the piece vulgar. Grace Edquist, Vogue, 30 Mar. 2024 Kanye’s ill-will towards the plaintiff ultimately culminated in a vulgar lashing in front of schoolchildren and their parents. Lisa France, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024 Women were derided with vulgar nicknames and viewed as whores deserving of violence. Amy Dubois Barnett, Los Angeles Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Trump also referred in vulgar terms to grabbing women’s genitals. Aysha Bagchi, USA TODAY, 25 Mar. 2024 That included a push for good conduct, a new dress code, and demanding no vulgar language. Lisa J Huriash, Orange County Register, 2 Feb. 2024 During a meeting on Feb. 13, many listened as caller after caller spouted vulgar rhetoric during the public comments section. Lauren J. Mapp, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Mar. 2024 Adlon knows how to walk that fine line between sweet and vulgar, which comes in handy here since Glazer and Rabinowitz’s script is determined to milk every ounce of humor out of every ounce of bodily fluid that may be spilled, squirted or secreted by expectant moms. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 10 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vulgar.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near vulgar

Cite this Entry

“Vulgar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vulgar. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

vulgar

adjective
vul·​gar ˈvəl-gər How to pronounce vulgar (audio)
1
: generally used, applied, or accepted
2
: of or relating to common speech : vernacular entry 1
the vulgar name of a plant
3
: of or relating to the common people
the vulgar opinion of the time
4
a
: lacking in good manners or taste : coarse
a loud vulgar belch
b
: morally crude
c
: tastelessly showy : pretentious
5
: offensive in language : obscene
a vulgar joke
vulgarly adverb

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