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 The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving a high school cheerleader and some vulgar posts on Snapchat that could lead to new rules on when school officials can punish students for their speech. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "Speaker McCarthy? Republicans have edge as redistricting starts," 30 Apr. 2021 Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case concerning a student who made vulgar remarks about her school on Snapchat. Evan Gerstmann, Forbes, "The Supreme Court Must Do A Better Job Of Protecting Student Free Speech," 28 Apr. 2021 Now the frog had found himself in a vulgar reality jumble, his no-frills costume wedged inside one that was far flashier and more grotesque. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "The Low-Key Carter-Era Pleasures of “The Muppet Show”," 17 Apr. 2021 As the teenager turned around, Mr. Thornhill said, a court clerk on the call could be heard insulting him, using several anti-Black slurs and vulgar language, apparently under the impression that she could not be heard. New York Times, "As N.Y. Courts Seek to Root Out Racism, a Clerk Is Heard Using a Slur," 16 Apr. 2021 Things like having vulgar tastes, or not being happy, or being stressed out. Helen Oyeyemi, Harper's BAZAAR, "Read An Excerpt from Helen Oyeyemi's New Novel, Peaces," 5 Apr. 2021 It was considered vulgar for women to smoke in public, or even to be around those who indulged in the habit. Daniela Altimari,, "Five women pioneers were elected to the Connecticut legislature a century ago; here are their stories," 28 Mar. 2021 And part of the problem is McCarthy, whose vulgar, uncouth character doesn’t have that many dimensions. Tim Grierson, Vulture, "Every Melissa McCarthy Movie Performance, Ranked," 9 Apr. 2021 Diakhaby, a Frenchman of Guinean descent, told officials Cala had called him a vulgar racial epithet, yet referee David Medié Jiménez responded by giving Diakhaby a yellow card, after which the player walked off the pitch followed by his teammates. Kevin Baxter Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Soccer newsletter: European match stained by racism again," 6 Apr. 2021

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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vulgar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for vulgar



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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