[ pawr-nog-ruh-fee ]
/ pɔrˈnɒg rə fi /


sexually explicit videos, photographs, writings, or the like, whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal.

Origin of pornography

1840–50; < Greek pornográph(os) writing about harlots (porno-, combining form of pórnē harlot + -graphos -graph) + -y3

Related forms

Can be confused

lewd obscene pornographic profanatory profane Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pornography

British Dictionary definitions for pornography


/ (pɔːˈnɒɡrəfɪ) /


writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement
the production of such material
Sometimes (informal) shortened to: porn, porno

Derived Forms

pornographer, nounpornographic (ˌpɔːnəˈɡræfɪk), adjectivepornographically, adverb

Word Origin for pornography

C19: from Greek pornographos writing of harlots, from pornē a harlot + graphein to write
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

Culture definitions for pornography


Books, photographs, magazines, art, or music designed to excite sexual impulses and considered by public authorities or public opinion as in violation of accepted standards of sexual morality. American courts have not yet settled on a satisfactory definition of what constitutes pornographic material. (See obscenity.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.