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graffiti

[gruh-fee-tee] /grəˈfi ti/
noun
1.
plural of graffito.
2.
(used with a plural verb) markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written, spray-painted, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building or public restroom, or the like:
These graffiti are evidence of the neighborhood's decline.
3.
(used with a singular verb) such markings as a whole or as constituting a particular group:
Not much graffiti appears around here these days.
Origin of graffiti
1850-1855
1850-55; < Italian, plural of graffito incised inscription or design, derivative with -ito -ite2 of graffiare to scratch, perhaps influenced by presumed Latin *graphīre to write; both probably derivative of Latin graphium stylus < Greek grapheîon; cf. graphic, grapho-, graft1
Related forms
graffitist, noun
Usage note
In formal speech and writing graffiti takes a plural verb. In less formal contexts it is sometimes considered a mass noun and is used with a singular verb. The singular graffito is found mostly in archaeological and other technical writing.

graffito

[gruh-fee-toh] /grəˈfi toʊ/
noun, plural graffiti
[gruh-fee-tee] /grəˈfi ti/ (Show IPA)
1.
Archaeology. an ancient drawing or writing scratched on a wall or other surface.
2.
a single example of graffiti.
Origin
see graffiti
Usage note
See graffiti.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for graffiti
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I liked Mission graffiti; a lot of the times, it came in huge, luscious murals, or sarcastic art-student stencils.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
  • The walls341 of this passage are covered with graffiti and other records of pilgrims.

    Pagan and Christian Rome Rodolfo Lanciani
  • Taken as a whole, the graffiti are less fertile for our knowledge of Pompeian life than might have been expected.

  • We stayed two days at Eriosh to study the graffiti and tombs.

    Southern Arabia Theodore Bent
  • It is a strangely impressive glimpse of a living past, like the graffiti of Pompeii.

    Our Hundred Days in Europe Oliver Wendell Holmes
British Dictionary definitions for graffiti

graffiti

/ɡræˈfiːtiː/
plural noun (sing) -to (-təʊ)
1.
(sometimes with sing verb) drawings, messages, etc, often obscene, scribbled on the walls of public lavatories, advertising posters, etc
2.
(archaeol) inscriptions or drawings scratched or carved onto a surface, esp rock or pottery
Derived Forms
graffitist, noun
Word Origin
C19: graffito from Italian: a little scratch, from graffio, from Latin graphium stylus, from Greek grapheion; see graft1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for graffiti
n.

1851, for ancient wall inscriptions found in the ruins of Pompeii, from Italian graffiti, plural of graffito "a scribbling," a diminutive formation from graffio "a scratch or scribble," from graffiare "to scribble," ultimately from Greek graphein "to scratch, draw, write" (see -graphy). Sense extended 1877 to recently made crude drawings and scribbling.

graffito

n.

singular of graffiti (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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graffiti in Technology


Handwriting recognition software for the Newton and Zoomer which recognises symbols that aren't necessarily letters. This gives greater speed and accuracy. It was written by Berkeley Softworks.
(1995-01-24)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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