- offensive to morality or decency; indecent; depraved: obscene language.
- causing uncontrolled sexual desire.
- abominable; disgusting; repulsive.
Origin of obscene
Examples from the Web for obscene
In June, the executive offices of the Metropolitan Opera were broken into and graffitied with obscene messages.Inside the Metropolitan Opera’s Insane Year
Shawn E. Milnes
November 23, 2014
People who are constantly suppressing the urge to make the most obscene, offensive jokes that spring to mind.The Case Against Cards Against Humanity: Is Max Temkin a Horrible Person? (Does It Matter?)
July 29, 2014
Anything involving that obscene level of cash will definitely have juicy stories behind it.Speed Read: Kenneth Vogel’s ‘Big Money’ Shows How PACs Control Politics
June 9, 2014
A monumental political bombshell, his obscene downfall was a cinematic gimme, sure to set screenwriter hearts aflutter.French Political Sex Movie About DSK Sets Cannes Aquiver
May 17, 2014
To Helms, LGBT Americans were “weak, morally sick wretches,” and AIDS education was “obscene” and “revolting.”Ties to Secessionist Sympathizers? Don't Worry, Rand Paul Will Still Endorse You
December 17, 2013
And a third showed the horn of an ox, with an obscene inscription.
He growled an obscene oath as he heaved the great oar forward.The Sea-Hawk
Hargus repeated the prisoner's request with obscene embellishment.The Duke Of Chimney Butte
G. W. Ogden
Between them they dragged into the light the obscene burden.
But Tonet made an obscene gesture, and started to put the jacket on.Mayflower (Flor de mayo)
Vicente Blasco Ibez
- offensive or outrageous to accepted standards of decency or modesty
- law (of publications) having a tendency to deprave or corrupt
- disgusting; repellentan obscene massacre
Word Origin and History for obscene
1590s, "offensive to the senses, or to taste and refinement," from Middle French obscène (16c.), from Latin obscenus "offensive," especially to modesty, originally "boding ill, inauspicious," of unknown origin; perhaps from ob "onto" (see ob-) + caenum "filth." Meaning "offensive to modesty or decency" is attested from 1590s. Legally, in U.S., it hinged on "whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest." [Justice William Brennan, "Roth v. United States," June 24, 1957]; refined in 1973 by "Miller v. California":
The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether 'the average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.