from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Offensive to accepted standards of decency.
  • adjective Law Of or relating to materials that can be regulated or criminalized because their depiction of nudity, sex, or excretion is patently offensive and without artistic or scientific value.
  • adjective Morally repulsive; disgusting.
  • adjective So extreme in amount as to be objectionable or outrageous.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Inauspicious; ill-omened.
  • Offensive to the senses; repulsive; disgusting; foul; filthy.
  • Offensive to modesty and decency; impure; unchaste; indecent: lewd: as, obscene actions or language; obscene pictures.
  • Synonyms Immodest, ribald, gross.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Offensive to chastity or modesty; expressing or presenting to the mind or view something which delicacy, purity, and decency forbid to be exposed; impure
  • adjective Foul; fifthy; disgusting.
  • adjective rare, A Latinism Inauspicious; ill-omened.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Offensive to current standards of decency or morality
  • adjective Lewd or lustful
  • adjective Disgusting or repulsive
  • adjective Beyond all reason
  • adjective Liable to deprave or corrupt

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective designed to incite to indecency or lust
  • adjective suggestive of or tending to moral looseness
  • adjective offensive to the mind


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin obscēnus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Ultimately from the Latin obscēnus, obscaenus, perhaps viâ Middle French; compare the Modern French obscène.


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  • "Women should be obscene and not heard."

    - Groucho Marx.

    December 24, 2007

  • I heard on the radio today that this word is from Greek and simply meant off-stage.

    May 9, 2008

  • That makes me wonder what the heck was going on off-stage!

    May 10, 2008

  • What was happening on-stage?

    May 10, 2008