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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 prurient
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That prurient heat in Twenty-five millions of hearts is not cooled thereby; but is still hot, nay hotter.

    The French Revolution Thomas Carlyle
  • The Aino's imagination is as prurient as that of any Zola, and far more outspoken.

    Aino Folk-Tales Basil Hall Chamberlain
  • Voltaire says that these prurient questions were debated with a gusto and a minuteness of detail not found elsewhere.

    The History of Prostitution William W. Sanger
  • "To h–––– with their prurient laws," said Lopez, rising suddenly from his chair.

    The Prime Minister Anthony Trollope
  • And this fair-haired little figure was the woman that people who knew her only from her books, called bold, prurient even!

    The Wheels of Chance H. G. Wells
British Dictionary definitions for prurient


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 prurient

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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