(of a motion picture; no longer in official use by the Motion Picture Association of America) having a rating of X; intended for adults only.
of or relating to a pornographic film.
obscene, sexually explicit, or vulgar: X-rated dance moves;X-rated selfies.
In the 1960s and 1970s, pornographic films like Deep Throat were also professionally produced, shot on film, and shown in mainstream movie theaters. They were given the official rating of X. However, in the 1980s, VHS made porn production and distribution cheaper, and flooded the market with poorly produced unrated films that gave themselves the label X. The MPAA had not trademarked the X rating, and could not control the way the pornography industry coopted it.
Mainstream theaters began refusing to show X-rated movies. The producers and directors of X-rated films of that era, like Scarface , were pressured by studio executives to cut enough content to qualify for a simple R (Restricted) rating. In 1990 the MPAA replaced the X rating with NC-17, a trademarked designation for films only appropriate for adult audiences.
The X rating continued to evolve in unregulated use. If a single X indicated pornography, then more X’s must be even more pornographic. The two most common designations became X for pornography and XXX for hard-core pornography. Other common variations are XX and XXXX. In the age of the internet, many pornographic videos add three, four, or many more X’s to their titles to promote their visibility in online searches, though the X designations are not official, and their meanings can vary widely.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use X-rated in a sentence
In the 70s it went through a brief stint as an X-rated adult cinema before an upgrade and clean sweep in the early 80s.
Military life is not a Disney film, but neither is it X-rated.Why These Marines Love ‘Frozen’—and Why It Matters | Aaron B. O’Connell | June 27, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Despite this more X-rated life, she still attracts mainstream attention.Is This Dildo-Licking, Dominatrix-Loving Vogue Blogger the New Face of Feminism? | Lizzie Crocker | May 22, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In August, RadarOnline reported that numerous “X-rated” selfies were posted on numerous sites.'Soy Fuerte. Soy Luchadora.' Did Topless Photos of Demi Lovato Leak Online? | Marina Watts | April 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The sale of X-rated films and magazines is illegal on military bases.
British Dictionary definitions for X-rated
(formerly, in Britain) (of a film) considered suitable for viewing by adults only
informal involving bad language, violence, or sex: an X-rated conversation
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with X-rated
Sexually explicit, vulgar, or obscene, as in This film should be X-rated; it's not suitable for children. This expression alludes to a rating system established for motion pictures, in which films rated X may not be viewed by persons under the age of 17. [c. 1970]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.