Synonyms & Antonyms of vulgar

1 belonging to the class of people of low social or economic rank
  • paintings that appeal to vulgar tastes

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3 held by or applicable to a majority of the people
  • the vulgar opinion is that the nation is in decline

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5 used in or suitable for speech and not formal writing
  • Latin was once the language of scholars, and English the vulgar language used by the common people

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About vulgar

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

Some common synonyms of vulgar are coarse, gross, obscene, and ribald. While all these words mean "offensive to good taste or morals," vulgar often implies boorishness or ill-breeding.

a loud vulgar belch

When is it sensible to use coarse instead of vulgar?

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

found the coarse humor of coworkers offensive

When might gross be a better fit than vulgar?

The synonyms gross and vulgar are sometimes interchangeable, but gross implies extreme coarseness and insensitiveness.

gross eating habits

In what contexts can obscene take the place of vulgar?

While in some cases nearly identical to vulgar, obscene applies to anything strongly repulsive to the sense of decency and propriety especially in sexual matters.

obscene language not allowed on the air

Where would ribald be a reasonable alternative to vulgar?

In some situations, the words ribald and vulgar are roughly equivalent. However, ribald applies to what is amusingly or picturesquely vulgar or irreverent or mildly indecent.

entertained the campers with ribald folk songs

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Time Traveler for vulgar

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

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Cite this Entry

“Vulgar.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on vulgar

Nglish: Translation of vulgar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vulgar for Arabic Speakers


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