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

Especially when your parents are vulgar, telly-addicted, book-hating schemers and your sadistic headmistress has a fondness for torturing children in a box called Chokey. Laura Demarco,, "‘Matilda the Musical’ at Beck Center a brilliant, ‘revolting’ triumph (review)," 22 July 2019 Mr Berlusconi’s rise to power disrupted Italian politics, with his various legal tangles and a campaign that was vulgar in tone. J.b., The Economist, "Inside Italy’s culture wars," 22 July 2019 Some people didn’t agree with the movement’s message, and other simply felt the hats were vulgar., "Knitting website Ravelry bans users from showing Trump support, says it’s ‘support for white supremacy’," 23 June 2019 From a young age, Aya was drawn to streetwear, opting for graphic t-shirts that were vulgar. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "Fashion Brand MadeMe Collaborated With Artist Aya Brown on Products That Showcase the Queer Black Female Experience," 21 June 2019 Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned after days of mass protests over vulgar, mean-spirited texting conversations. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "With Ricardo Rosselló out as governor, Puerto Rico 'needs to regain its moral compass and hope.' But, how?," 26 July 2019 Olivia Billings is a hoot in her outrageous outfits as Matilda’s vulgar, brassy mother Mrs. Wormwood. Laura Demarco,, "‘Matilda the Musical’ at Beck Center a brilliant, ‘revolting’ triumph (review)," 22 July 2019 China has a habit of banning films, usually foreign ones considered violent, vulgar, or promoting superstition. Echo Huang, Quartzy, "China’s censorship is sinking its own movie market," 17 July 2019 The nihilistic gewgaw, vacuous and vulgar, instead embodies the mythos that can be manufactured in a crude market-culture that primarily values art as a luxury asset. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Unicorns are just one of the wild rides in the Getty’s marvelous ‘Book of Beasts’," 23 July 2019

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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Last Updated

6 Sep 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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