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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is the curiosity and enthusiasm of youth rather than the prurience of age.

    Aliens William McFee
  • It is refreshing to turn from cynicism and prurience, to gentle and more harmless pleasantry.

    History of English Humour, Vol. 2 (of 2) Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange
  • The prurience and prudery which have poisoned sexual life in the past are alike rendered impossible.

  • But, free of the prudery of the tabernacle and the prurience of the boulevard, surely the novel has a great future before it.

  • That amazing mixture of sententious moralities, of prurience, and of mawkish sentiment, became the rage of the Town.

  • The vulgar call it lust, and blush and hide their faces; in their folly is the shame, in their prurience the disgrace.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • His enormous popularity, the widest in the world of letters, owes absolutely nothing to prurience or curiosity.

    Essays in Little Andrew Lang
  • Burton argues that the "naive indecencies of the text of The Arabian Nights are rather gaudisserie than 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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