[ gruh-fee-tee ]
See synonyms for graffiti on
  1. plural of graffito.

  2. (used with a plural verb) markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written, spray-painted, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building or public restroom, or the like: These graffiti are evidence of the neighborhood's decline.

  1. (used with a singular verb) such markings as a whole or as constituting a particular group: Not much graffiti appears around here these days.

Origin of graffiti

1850–55; <Italian, plural of graffito incised inscription or design, derivative with -ito-ite2 of graffiare to scratch, perhaps influenced by presumed Latin *graphīre to write; both probably derivative of Latin graphium stylus <Greek grapheîon;cf. graphic, grapho-, graft1

usage note For graffiti

In formal speech and writing graffiti takes a plural verb. In less formal contexts it is sometimes considered a mass noun and is used with a singular verb. The singular graffito is found mostly in archaeological and other technical writing.

Other words from graffiti

  • graf·fi·tist, noun

Words Nearby graffiti Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use graffiti in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for graffiti


/ (ɡræˈfiːtiː) /

pl nsingular -to (-təʊ)
  1. (sometimes with singular verb) drawings, messages, etc, often obscene, scribbled on the walls of public lavatories, advertising posters, etc

  2. archaeol inscriptions or drawings scratched or carved onto a surface, esp rock or pottery

Origin of graffiti

C19: graffito from Italian: a little scratch, from graffio, from Latin graphium stylus, from Greek grapheion; see graft 1

Derived forms of graffiti

  • graffitist, noun

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