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 (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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ties
1. the state or quality of being profane
2. vulgar or irreverent action, speech, etc
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



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)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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, 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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


2. Something that is offensive to accepted standards of decency:
Slang: raunch.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[prəˈfænɪtɪ] N (= blasphemy) → blasfemia f; (= oath) → blasfemia f
to utter a string of profanitiessoltar una sarta de blasfemias
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[prəˈfænɪti] n (= obscene language) → obscénités fpl
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= sacrilegious nature)Gotteslästerlichkeit f
(= act, utterance)(Gottes)lästerung f
(= secular nature)Weltlichkeit f, → Profanität f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[prəˈfænɪtɪ] n (oath) → imprecazione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
TOM joined the new order of Cadets of Temperance, being attracted by the showy character of their "regalia." He promised to abstain from smoking, chewing, and profanity as long as he remained a mem- ber.
I see in a second that what I had mistook for profanity in the mines was only just the rudiments, as you may say.
It was just like the East Wind's nature to inflict starvation upon the bodies of unoffending sailors, while he corrupted their simple souls by an exasperation leading to outbursts of profanity as lurid as his blood-red sunrises.
The clatter of hoofs strangled but could not drown the sound of his profanity. He shouted choking and gurgling curses at the starry heavens; he cut viciously with his whip at passing vehicles; he scattered fierce and ever-changing oaths and imprecations along the streets, so that a late truck driver, crawling homeward, heard and was abashed.
The field was the place to witness his cruelty and profanity. His presence made it both the field of blood and of blasphemy.
I imagine to myself the scowl of your spiritual eye upon the profanity of that scurrilous Ursa Major.
A thistle grows about here which has needles on it that would pierce through leather, I think; if one touches you, you can find relief in nothing but profanity. The camels eat these.
But for the profanity of the woman's language, and the really lamentable credulity of the poor old lady, the whole thing would make a fit subject for a burlesque.
Though Magua, who had resumed his ancient garb, bore the outline of a fox on the dressed skin which formed his robe, there was one chief of his party who carried the beaver as his peculiar symbol, or "totem." There would have been a species of profanity in the omission, had this man passed so powerful a community of his fancied kindred, without bestowing some evidence of his regard.
His answer was as sharp as before, but it was music this time; I shouldn't ever wish to hear pleasanter, though the profanity was not good, being awkwardly put together, and with the crash-word almost in the middle instead of at the end, where, of course, it ought to have been.
A second later she recognized the lurid profanity of the Swede.
From his lips there flowed--not prayer--but a clear and limpid stream of undiluted profanity, and it was all directed at that quietly stubborn piece of unyielding mechanism.