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See more synonyms for lewd on Thesaurus.com
adjective, lewd·er, lewd·est.
  1. inclined to, characterized by, or inciting to lust or lechery; lascivious.
  2. obscene or indecent, as language or songs; salacious.
  3. Obsolete.
    1. low, ignorant, or vulgar.
    2. base, vile, or wicked, especially of a person.
    3. bad, worthless, or poor, especially of a thing.
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Origin of lewd

before 900; Middle English leud, lewed, Old English lǣwede lay, unlearned
Related formslewd·ly, adverblewd·ness, noun
Can be confusedlewd obscene pornographic profanatory profane
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lewdness

Historical Examples

  • They are not the fruits of love but of a sexual union based on idleness and lewdness.

    The Sexual Question

    August Forel

  • Ye've followed him so long in lewdness that now yell follow him in conversion!

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Messalina, wife to the emperor Claudius, infamous for her lewdness.

  • And these games are reckoned devout in proportion to their lewdness.

    The City of God, Volume I

    Aurelius Augustine

  • By the French and Anglo-Saxon laws, lewdness was thus punished.

British Dictionary definitions for lewdness


  1. characterized by or intended to excite crude sexual desire; obscene
  2. obsolete
    1. wicked
    2. ignorant
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Derived Formslewdly, adverblewdness, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old English lǣwde lay, ignorant; see lay ³
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 lewdness



Old English læwede "nonclerical," of uncertain origin but probably ultimately from Vulgar Latin *laigo-, from Latin laicus (see lay (adj.)). Sense of "unlettered, uneducated" (early 13c.) descended to "coarse, vile, lustful" by late 14c. Related: Lewdly; lewdness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper