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profane

[pruh-feyn, proh-]
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adjective
  1. characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.
  2. not devoted to holy or religious purposes; unconsecrated; secular (opposed to sacred).
  3. unholy; heathen; pagan: profane rites.
  4. not initiated into religious rites or mysteries, as persons.
  5. common or vulgar.
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verb (used with object), pro·faned, pro·fan·ing.
  1. to misuse (anything that should be held in reverence or respect); defile; debase; employ basely or unworthily.
  2. to treat (anything sacred) with irreverence or contempt; violate the sanctity of: to profane a shrine.
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Origin of profane

1350–1400; (adj.) < Latin profānus literally, before (outside of) the temple; replacing Middle English prophane < Medieval Latin prophānus desecrated (see pro-1, fane); (v.) < Latin profānāre, derivative of profānus; replacing Middle English prophanen < Medieval Latin prophānāre to desecrate
Related formspro·fane·ly, adverbpro·fane·ness, nounpro·fan·er, nounhalf-pro·fane, adjectivenon·pro·fane, adjectivenon·pro·fane·ly, adverbnon·pro·fane·ness, nounsem·i·pro·fane, adjectivesem·i·pro·fane·ly, adverbsem·i·pro·fane·ness, nounun·pro·fane, adjectiveun·pro·fane·ly, adverbun·pro·fane·ness, nounun·pro·faned, adjective
Can be confusedlewd obscene pornographic profanatory profane

Synonyms

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1. blasphemous, sacrilegious, impious, ungodly. 2. temporal. 3. unhallowed. 5. low, mean, base. 7. desecrate.

Antonyms

1. sacred. 2. spiritual. 3. holy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for profane

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It is not profane if I now say, 'with a great price obtained I this freedom.'

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • But he did not profane that scene by the mockery of his art.

  • How strikingly different is the course of profane and sacred history!

  • I worshipped the divinity, even while I attempted to profane the altar.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • He would not have it supposed that only the profane or grossly wicked were in danger from the law. '

    Bunyan

    James Anthony Froude


British Dictionary definitions for profane

profane

adjective
  1. having or indicating contempt, irreverence, or disrespect for a divinity or something sacred
  2. not designed or used for religious purposes; secular
  3. not initiated into the inner mysteries or sacred rites
  4. vulgar, coarse, or blasphemousprofane language
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verb (tr)
  1. to treat or use (something sacred) with irreverence
  2. to put to an unworthy or improper use
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Derived Formsprofanation (ˌprɒfəˈneɪʃən), nounprofanatory (prəˈfænətərɪ, -trɪ), adjectiveprofanely, adverbprofaneness, nounprofaner, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin profānus outside the temple, from pro- 1 + fānum temple
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

Word Origin and History for profane

v.

late 14c., from Old French profaner, prophaner (13c.) and directly from Latin profanare "to desecrate, render unholy, violate," from profanus "unholy, not consecrated" (see profane (adj.)). Related: Profaned; profaning.

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adj.

mid-15c., "un-ecclesiastical, secular," from Old French profane (12c.) and directly from Latin profanus "unholy, not consecrated," according to Barnhart from pro fano "not admitted into the temple (with the initiates)," literally "out in front of the temple," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + fano, ablative of fanum "temple" (see feast (n.)). Sense of "unholy, polluted" is recorded from c.1500. Related: Profanely.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper