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7 Essential Words of Fall

obscenity

[uh b-sen-i-tee, -see-ni-] /əbˈsɛn ɪ ti, -ˈsi nɪ-/
noun, plural obscenities for 2, 3.
1.
the character or quality of being obscene; indecency; lewdness.
2.
something obscene, as a picture or story.
3.
an obscene word or expression, especially when used as an invective.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; < French obscenité < Latin obscēnitās, equivalent to obscēn(us) obscene + -itās -ity
Related forms
antiobscenity, noun, plural antiobscenities, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for obscenity
  • It is true that debates about obscenity often overlap with debates about freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
  • The decision may end up loosening stringent obscenity standards.
  • Put them together and you have an obscenity that mocks the history of education.
  • If you know their work you know that in the right hands, fantasy and obscenity are cathartic.
  • One may also argue-less persuasively, in my view-against protecting certain forms of public obscenity and defamatory statements.
  • It's merely a series of provocations, obscenity presented as comedy.
  • Our perennial, mind-numbing debate over obscenity is upon us again.
  • It's as if success is a corollary of obscenity: you know it when you see it.
  • The obscenity is something else: it is effective, it is powerful as a token of extreme feeling.
  • It really is the best way to remember the obscenity of war and to honor the dead.
British Dictionary definitions for obscenity

obscenity

/əbˈsɛnɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the state or quality of being obscene
2.
an obscene act, statement, word, etc
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 obscenity
n.

1580s, "obscene quality," from French obscénité, from Latin obscenitatem (nominative obscenitas) "inauspiciousness, filthiness," from obscenus "offensive" (see obscene). Meaning "a foul or loathsome act" is 1610s. Sense of "an obscene utterance or word" is attested by 1690. Related: Obscenities.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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obscenity in Culture

obscenity definition


Behavior, appearance, or expression (such as films and books) that violate accepted standards of sexual morality. American courts have long tried to define obscenity but without much success. Some believe, for example, that any depiction of nudity is obscene; others would argue that nudity in itself is not obscene. (See four-letter words and pornography.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Word Value for obscenity

16
18
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