[gruh-fee-tee] /grəˈfi ti/
plural of graffito.
(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."
(used with a singular verb) such markings as a whole or as constituting a particular group:
"Not much graffiti appears around here these days."
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.


[gruh-fee-toh] /grəˈfi toʊ/
noun, plural graffiti
[gruh-fee-tee] /grəˈfi ti/ (Show IPA)
Archaeology. an ancient drawing or writing scratched on a wall or other surface.
a single example of graffiti.
see graffiti
Usage note
See graffiti.
British Dictionary definitions for graffiti's
graffiti (ɡræˈfiːtiː)
pl n , sing -to
1.  (sometimes with singular 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
[C19: graffito from Italian: a little scratch, from graffio, from Latin graphium stylus, from Greek grapheion; see graft1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin and History for graffiti's
1851, for ancient wall inscriptions found in the ruins of Pompeii, from It. graffiti, pl. of graffito "a scribbling," a dim. formation from graffio "a scratch or scribble," from graffiare "to scribble." Sense extended 1877 to recently made crude drawings and scribbling.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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