Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.


 (prō-făn′ĭ-tē, prə-)
n. pl. pro·fan·i·ties
1. The condition or quality of being profane.
a. Abusive, vulgar, or irreverent language.
b. The use of such language.


n, pl -ties
1. the state or quality of being profane
2. vulgar or irreverent action, speech, etc


(prəˈfæn ɪ ti, proʊ-)

n., pl. -ties.
1. the quality of being profane; irreverence.
2. irreverent or blasphemous speech.
3. a blasphemous act or utterance.
[1600–10; < Late Latin]



air one’s lungs To curse or swear. American cowboy slang.

billingsgate Vulgar or obscene language. The reference is to the coarse language commonly heard at Billingsgate, a London fishmarket. The term was in use as early as the 17th century.

blankety-blank A euphemism for profane or four-letter words. This expression, in use since at least 1854, derived from the former practice of leaving dashes or blank spaces to represent unprintable, vulgar words, as h—for hell or d—for damned. M. Diver used the phrase in The Great Amulet (1908):

Colonel Stanham Buckley … inquired picturesquely of a passing official when the blank this blankety blank train was supposed to start.

dickens A euphemistic word for the devil or Satan, common in such exclamations as why the dickens and what the dickens. The derivation of this slang term is not known although it has been in use since the time of Shakespeare. Dickens is also used in mild imprecations such as the dickens take you, raise the dickens, and go to the dickens. To play the dickens means to be mischievous, or to instigate or stir up trouble and confusion.

dip into the blue To tell an off-color story; to speak of the erotic or obscene. Blue ‘lewd, obscene, indelicate, offensive’ has been in use since at least as early as the mid-19th century. Dip into the blue is a picturesque but rarely heard euphemism.

locker-room talk Vulgar ribaldry; obscene, scurrilous, or vile language; also, bathroom talk. This expression derives from the lewd conversations that males purportedly indulge in when in the confines of a locker-room or bathroom.

swear like a trooper To use extremely profane language. This simile, dating from the late 18th century, derives from the language reputedly used by British soldiers. It has become almost a cliché that the language of men in exclusively male company, e.g., soldiers and athletes, is riddled with profanities.

Women got drunk and swore like troopers. (William Cobbett, A Year’s Residence in the United States of America, 1819)

Today the expression like a trooper is often used with other verbs to indicate forcefulness, intensity, enthusiasm, etc. One can “sing like a trooper,” “dance like a trooper,” “play like a trooper,” and so on.

Sweet Fanny Adams See ABSENCE.

talk the bark off a tree To express one-self in strong, usually profane, language. This informal Americanism dates from the 19th century.

The tracker will be led, perhaps, for mile after mile through just the sort of cover that tempts one to halt and “talk the bark off a tree” now and then. (Outing, November, 1891)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.profanity - vulgar or irreverent speech or actionprofanity - vulgar or irreverent speech or action
utterance, vocalization - the use of uttered sounds for auditory communication
blasphemy - blasphemous language (expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred)
dirty word, vulgarism, obscenity, smut, filth - an offensive or indecent word or phrase
expletive, oath, swearing, swearword, curse, curse word, cuss - profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger; "expletives were deleted"


1. sacrilege, blasphemy, irreverence, impiety, profaneness To desecrate a holy spring is considered profanity.
2. swearing, abuse, curse, cursing, obscenity, four-letter word, foul language, imprecation, malediction, swearword, execration Our ears were assailed by curses and profanities.


2. Something that is offensive to accepted standards of decency:
Slang: raunch.


[prəˈfænɪtɪ] N (= blasphemy) → blasfemia f; (= oath) → blasfemia f
to utter a string of profanitiessoltar una sarta de blasfemias


[prəˈfænɪti] n (= obscene language) → obscénités fpl


(= sacrilegious nature)Gotteslästerlichkeit f
(= act, utterance)(Gottes)lästerung f
(= secular nature)Weltlichkeit f, → Profanität f


[prəˈfænɪtɪ] n (oath) → imprecazione f
References in periodicals archive ?
In an exchange with Manila's envoys in the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Zeid referred to November media reports from the Philippines that quoted Duterte threatening to slap Callamard, while using profanity.
However, some artists are using profanity in their lyrics.
An international team of researchers looked in-depth into the behaviour of people who use more profanity on a daily basis than an average person.
We had to delete the requirement limitation regarding the use of profanity because it might encroach on their freedom of speech,' Communications Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said in a Palace briefing on Thursday.
It's that profanity evolved within the spontaneous order we call language to perform certain functions.
Based on surveys of what people in several Western nations regard as unacceptable, the author divides profanity into four categories: praying (using names of religious figures and religious words, such as holy and damn, in secular ways), fornicating (the F-word and other terms for the sex act and genitals), excreting (everything related to bodily functions, from feces to vomit) and slurring (offensive words for groups based on ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and so on).
Ask someone for an example of profanity and invariably they will utter a coarse word or two, vulgar words deemed offensive or unsuitable by capricious social policies.
Boffins at University College London investigated patterns of profanity on the social network by monitoring tweets sent from a smartphone with geo-location switched on, from the week beginning August 28.
Perceived offensiveness is affected by mere exposure to profanity (Kaye & Sapolsky, 2004), the profanity spoken (Jay, 2009), the gender (Selnow, 1985) and ethnicity of the speaker and perceiver (Popp, Donovan, Crawford, Marsh, & Peele, 2003), as well as the context in which profanities are spoken (Johnson & Lewis, 2010).
ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- AK Party supporters shout threats, profanity in font of Samanyolu building
Brigham Young University professor Sarah Coyne analyzed the use of profanity in 40 books on an adolescent bestsellers list.
Even highly offensive material, including profanity, is fully protected under the First Amendment.