graffiti

[ gruh-fee-tee ]
/ grəˈfi ti /

noun

plural of graffito.
(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.
(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

Related forms

graf·fi·tist, noun

Usage note

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for graffitist

graffiti

/ (ɡræˈfiːtiː) /

pl n singular -to (-təʊ)

(sometimes with singular verb) drawings, messages, etc, often obscene, scribbled on the walls of public lavatories, advertising posters, etc
archaeol inscriptions or drawings scratched or carved onto a surface, esp rock or pottery

Derived Forms

graffitist, noun

Word Origin for graffiti

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