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[proo r-ee-uh nt] /ˈprʊər i ənt/
having, inclined to have, or characterized by lascivious or lustful thoughts, desires, etc.
causing lasciviousness or lust.
having a restless desire or longing.
Origin of prurient
1630-40; < Latin prūrient- (stem of prūriēns), present participle of prūrīre to itch
Related forms
prurience, pruriency, noun
pruriently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prurience
  • The tension between innocence and prurience is exquisite, if not unprecedented.
  • His smarmy prurience becomes a factor in national policy.
  • prurience and disgust parade under the banner of social studies.
  • Public figures with blameless private lives may find the media's habitual prurience so unbearable that they leave office.
  • Cigars, hair gel, the whole political-entertainment complex of prurience.
  • It's apparent that nothing in this world is immutable-neither the balance of power, the meaning of prurience nor physical beauty.
  • Characters are never fully brought to life, and there is a rather cynical pandering to prurience.
British Dictionary definitions for prurience


unusually or morbidly interested in sexual thoughts or practices
exciting or encouraging lustfulness; erotic
Derived Forms
prurience, noun
pruriently, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin prūrīre to itch, to lust after
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 prurience

1680s, from prurient + -ence. Related: Pruriency (1660s).



1630s, "itching," later, and now exclusively, "having an itching desire" (1650s), especially "lascivious, lewd," (1746), from Latin prurientem (nominative pruriens), present participle of prurire "to itch; to long for, be wanton," perhaps related to pruna "glowing coals," from PIE root *preus- "to freeze; burn" (see freeze (v.)). Related: Pruriently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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