obscenity

[uhb-sen-i-tee, -see-ni-]
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:
1600–10; < French obscenité < Latin obscēnitās, equivalent to obscēn(us) obscene + -itās -ity

antiobscenity, noun, plural antiobscenities, adjective
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World English Dictionary
obscenity (əbˈsɛnɪtɪ)
 
n , pl -ties
1.  the state or quality of being obscene
2.  an obscene act, statement, word, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

obscenity
c.1600, "obscene quality," from L. obscenitas, from obscenus (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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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.
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