as in pornographic
depicting or referring to sexual matters in a way that is unacceptable in polite society obscene gestures are totally inappropriate in the workplace

Synonyms & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in disgusting
causing intense displeasure, disgust, or resentment that ugly new store is really an obscene bit of architecture

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

How is the word obscene different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of obscene are coarse, gross, ribald, and vulgar. While all these words mean "offensive to good taste or morals," obscene applies to anything strongly repulsive to the sense of decency and propriety especially in sexual matters.

obscene language not allowed on the air

When might coarse be a better fit than obscene?

While the synonyms coarse and obscene are close in meaning, coarse implies roughness, rudeness, or crudeness of spirit, behavior, or language.

found the coarse humor of coworkers offensive

When is gross a more appropriate choice than obscene?

The words gross and obscene can be used in similar contexts, but gross implies extreme coarseness and insensitiveness.

gross eating habits

When would ribald be a good substitute for obscene?

The words ribald and obscene are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ribald applies to what is amusingly or picturesquely vulgar or irreverent or mildly indecent.

entertained the campers with ribald folk songs

In what contexts can vulgar take the place of obscene?

The synonyms vulgar and obscene are sometimes interchangeable, but vulgar often implies boorishness or ill-breeding.

a loud vulgar belch

Thesaurus Entries Near obscene

Cite this Entry

“Obscene.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/obscene. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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