View synonyms for profane


[ pruh-feyn, proh- ]


  1. characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.

    Synonyms: ungodly, impious, sacrilegious, blasphemous

    Antonyms: sacred

  2. not devoted to holy or religious purposes; unconsecrated; secular ( sacred ).

    Synonyms: temporal

    Antonyms: spiritual

  3. unholy; heathen; pagan:

    profane rites.

    Synonyms: unhallowed

    Antonyms: holy

  4. not initiated into religious rites or mysteries, as persons.
  5. common or vulgar.

    Synonyms: base, mean, low

verb (used with object)

, pro·faned, pro·fan·ing.
  1. to misuse (anything that should be held in reverence or respect); employ basely or unworthily; defile; debase.
  2. to treat (anything sacred) with irreverence or contempt; violate the sanctity of:

    to profane a shrine.

    Synonyms: desecrate


/ ˌprɒfəˈneɪʃən; -trɪ; prəˈfænətərɪ; prəˈfeɪn /


  1. having or indicating contempt, irreverence, or disrespect for a divinity or something sacred
  2. not designed or used for religious purposes; secular
  3. not initiated into the inner mysteries or sacred rites
  4. vulgar, coarse, or blasphemous

    profane language


  1. to treat or use (something sacred) with irreverence
  2. to put to an unworthy or improper use

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Derived Forms

  • profanatory, adjective
  • proˈfanely, adverb
  • proˈfaner, noun
  • profanation, noun
  • proˈfaneness, noun

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Other Words From

  • pro·fanely adverb
  • pro·faneness noun
  • pro·faner noun
  • half-pro·fane adjective
  • nonpro·fane adjective
  • nonpro·fanely adverb
  • nonpro·faneness noun
  • semi·pro·fane adjective
  • semi·pro·fanely adverb
  • semi·pro·faneness noun
  • unpro·fane adjective
  • unpro·fanely adverb
  • unpro·faneness noun
  • unpro·faned adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of profane1

1350–1400; (adj.) < Latin profānus literally, before (outside of ) the temple; replacing Middle English prophane < Medieval Latin prophānus desecrated ( pro- 1, fane ); (v.) < Latin profānāre, derivative of profānus; replacing Middle English prophanen < Medieval Latin prophānāre to desecrate

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Word History and Origins

Origin of profane1

C15: from Latin profānus outside the temple, from pro- 1+ fānum temple

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Example Sentences

Inside, Norteño music blends with the scent of tacos, and an announcer calls the races in profane Spanish.

In the education reform world, those of us who can retreat to our own sacred places sometimes expect to be praised for the simple reason that we take notice of the profane at all.

Warner’s male managers and colleagues referred to her with a profane epithet, as well as an “idiot,” and a “nobody,” she alleges in her suit.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled for a Pennsylvania cheerleader whose profane off-campus rant cost her a spot on the squad, saying the First Amendment rights of public school students are not to be easily cast aside.

That word “denialism” is particularly profane, with its unsubtle invocation of the Holocaust.

Hers was a warmer, less profane speech, again in memory of a much-missed buddy.

His novel The Last Magazine, published posthumously this month, is just like him:  blistering, fun, insightful, and profane.

Charming, profane, alcoholic television anchorman becomes local hero and changes the news business.

From the divine to the profane, what we mean when we say that potent word.

Joan Henry Ursinus died; a Lutheran divine, eminent for his learning in sacred and profane history.

Those who hold the truth cannot enter into it with the infidel, the unbeliever, the erroneous or profane.

That dwell in sepulchres, and sleep in the temple of idols: that eat swine's flesh, and profane broth is in their vessels.

And they shall teach my people the difference between holy and profane, and shew them how to discern between clean and unclean.

Baltasar's profane banquet: his sentence is denounced by a handwriting on the wall, which Daniel reads and interprets.


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