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.
People who are constantly suppressing the urge to make the most obscene, offensive jokes that spring to mind.
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|William O’Connor|June 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|Tracy McNicoll|May 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|Jamelle Bouie|December 17, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Houston said an obscene word under his breath, jammed his hat on his head, put on his coat, and left his apartment.The Penal Cluster|Ivar Jorgensen (AKA Randall Garrett)
The reviewer put an obscene construction upon it, and imputed to her his own malignant inference.Bygones Worth Remembering, Vol. 1 (of 2)|George Jacob Holyoake
It was as though the mud in him had been stirred by an obscene hand.Boy Woodburn|Alfred Ollivant
Others, round and squat, resembled the fat and obscene deities of Eastern religions.The Rules of the Game|Stewart Edward White
In stanza 28 he has evidently not the smallest notion of the meaning of the word "obscene" as applied to ravens.Ephemera Critica|John Churton Collins
Word Origin 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.