[proo r-ee-uh nt]


having, inclined to have, or characterized by lascivious or lustful thoughts, desires, etc.
causing lasciviousness or lust.
having a restless desire or longing.

Origin of prurient

1630–40; < Latin prūrient- (stem of prūriēns), present participle of prūrīre to itch
Related formspru·ri·ence, pru·ri·en·cy, nounpru·ri·ent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prurient

Contemporary Examples of prurient

Historical Examples of prurient

  • The Aino's imagination is as prurient as that of any Zola, and far more outspoken.

    Aino Folk-Tales

    Basil Hall Chamberlain

  • "To h–––– with their prurient laws," said Lopez, rising suddenly from his chair.

    The Prime Minister

    Anthony Trollope

  • Those who peruse the book only from prurient curiosity will be disappointed.

  • So far as my words go, there is not a syllable to shock any but a prurient modesty.

    Flowers of Freethought

    George W. Foote

  • It was a prurient French romance, and a cynical laugh came from his lips.

    A Fair Mystery

    Bertha M. Clay

British Dictionary definitions for prurient



unusually or morbidly interested in sexual thoughts or practices
exciting or encouraging lustfulness; erotic
Derived Formsprurience, nounpruriently, adverb

Word Origin for prurient

C17: from Latin prūrīre to itch, to lust after
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 prurient

1630s, "itching," later, and now exclusively, "having an itching desire" (1650s), especially "lascivious, lewd," (1746), from Latin prurientem (nominative pruriens), present participle of prurire "to itch; to long for, be wanton," perhaps related to pruna "glowing coals," from PIE root *preus- "to freeze; burn" (see freeze (v.)). Related: Pruriently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper