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Obscenity   /əbsˈɛnɪti/   Listen
Obscenity

noun
(pl. obscenities)
1.
The trait of behaving in an obscene manner.  Synonyms: bawdiness, lewdness, salaciousness, salacity.
2.
An offensive or indecent word or phrase.  Synonyms: dirty word, filth, smut, vulgarism.
3.
An obscene act.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Obscenity" Quotes from Famous Books



... done more good if he had been more gentle. I proceeded to answer myself thus: 'Perhaps it has been of advantage, as it has given weight to what you said: you could not, perhaps, have talked with such authority without it.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; I have done more good as I am. Obscenity and Impiety have always been repressed in my company[908].' BOSWELL. 'True, Sir; and that is more than can be said of every Bishop. Greater liberties have been taken in the presence of a Bishop, though a very good man, from his being milder, ...
— Life Of Johnson, Volume 4 (of 6) • Boswell

... boys in your family know of it—if you could get them to tell you. My two sons studied at a State university, and they would bring me home what they heard—the gossip, the slang, the horrible obscenity. Fourteen fellows in one dormitory using the same bathroom—and on the wall you saw a row of fourteen syringes! And they told that on themselves, it was the joke of the campus. They call the disease a 'dose'; and a man's not supposed to be worthy the respect of his fellows until he's had his 'dose'—the ...
— Sylvia's Marriage • Upton Sinclair

... applied to his face, it was wisely announced that for the future the Deity should be covered by a cloud. These plays, carried about the country, taken up by the baser sort of people, descended through all degrees of farce to obscenity, and, in England, becoming entangled in politics, at length disappeared. It is said they linger in Italy, and are annually ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 22, Aug., 1859 • Various

... said: "They were so curiously compounded of blasphemy, cruelty, and obscenity, that their like could only be expressed by John Bunyan's account of the speech of Apollyon: ...
— The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe • Charles Edward Stowe

... exposures of their business. For him, it was impossible to celebrate with hoarse ha-has, like his cousins, the discomfiture of these women when they realized that they had wasted so many hours without accomplishing more than abundant drinking. The gross obscenity, so public and noisy, like a parade of riches, was loathsome to Julio. "There is nothing like this in Paris," his cousins repeatedly exulted as they admired the stupendous salons, the hundreds of men and women in pairs, the thousands of tipplers. "No, there ...
— The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... reincarnated into what body. They're the ones who want the Lady Dallona discarnated and her discoveries suppressed. And there's talk about revising the entire system of estate-ownership and estate-inheritance. Oh, it's an utter obscenity of a business!" ...
— Last Enemy • Henry Beam Piper

... adept in one only of the vices of the school—whispering—and in that she excels. But she does not so readily resort to the great vice—the crime of falsehood—as do her companions of the other sex. I call falsehood the great vice, because, if this were unknown, tardiness, truancy, obscenity, and profanity, could not thrive. Holmes has well said that "sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that will fit ...
— Thoughts on Educational Topics and Institutions • George S. Boutwell

... better than a den of thieves, their whole thought being of plunder, their whole ambition the winning of gold. Blair blushed for the honor of his country, to find such men among her avowed defenders. Oaths and obscenity made even more hateful the rough narratives in which each strove to prove himself more hardened and abandoned than the last speaker. Blair's soul recoiled with horror from the taint of such companionship; yet for him there was no escape. Among these coarse rovers he was forced to eat ...
— The Boy Patriot • Edward Sylvester Ellis

... uniform of a representative, along with Courbis, the mayor, Geret, the justice and a number of prostitutes, dance the farandole around the guillotine. At Auch, one of the worst tyrants in the South, Dartigoyte, always heated with liquor "vomited every species of obscenity" in the faces of women that came to demand justice; "he compels, under penalty of imprisonment, mothers to take their daughters to the popular club," to listen to his filthy preaching; one evening, at the theatre, probably after an orgy, he shouts at all the women between the acts, lets loose upon ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 4 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 3 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... person." Though extremely choleric, he was honest, and not at all malicious. It was said of him that "his Latin and his dissimulation were both alike," equally bad, and that "his custom in swearing and obscenity in speech made him seem a ...
— Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth • Lucy Aikin

... Siva, the destroying influence in nature, and his consorts. One of these, Kali by name, is the impersonation of slaughter. Her shrine, near Calcutta, is knee-deep in blood, and the Dhyan or formula for contemplating her glories, is a tissue of unspeakable obscenity. Most Hindus are Saktas, or worshippers of the female generative principle: happily for civilisation they are morally in advance of their creed. But it is a significant fact that Kali is the tutelary goddess of extremist politicians, whose minds are prepared ...
— Tales of Bengal • S. B. Banerjea

... of any transgression of a moral law, for no such law was recognised, but he detested himself because he had been drawn into close contact with a miserable wretch simply in order to satisfy a passion, and in the touch of mercenary obscenity there was something horrible to him. It was bitter to him to reflect that, notwithstanding his aversion from it, notwithstanding his philosophy and art, he had been equally powerless with the uttermost fool of ...
— Catharine Furze • Mark Rutherford

... of this month. This day is observed with mirth, in imitation of the old Roman celebration of the days when the goddess Flora was worshipped. The Roman floral games began on the 28th April, and continued a few days. At one time these celebrations were conducted with obscenity, but by degrees the amusements became more moral. It was customary during the middle ages for rich and poor to go out on May-day, with music and other signs of joy and merriment, to gather flowers, and sip the dew before sunrise. The people then decorated their houses with the flowers, ...
— The Mysteries of All Nations • James Grant

... the pony to faster pace and with a jingling clash of tinware we bore down upon this lewd-tongued company which, howling obscenity, scattered promptly right and left—all except the big man Tom who, with a dexterous leap, caught the rein, jerking and wrenching at the bit with hand so cruelly strong that the poor animal reared up, snorting with fright and pain and the cart ...
— Peregrine's Progress • Jeffery Farnol

... etc. Every locality seems to have had a dance of its own. Dances in honour of Venus were common, she was the patroness of proper and decent dancing; on the contrary, those in honour of Dionysius or Bacchus degenerated into revelry and obscenity. The Epilenios danced when the grapes were pressed, and imitated the gathering and pressing. The Anteisterios danced when the wine was vatted (figs. 8, 9, 10), and the Bahilicos, danced to the sistrus, cymbals, and tambour, ...
— The Dance (by An Antiquary) - Historic Illustrations of Dancing from 3300 B.C. to 1911 A.D. • Anonymous

... neither an affectation, nor a prejudiced fable, nor a piece of stupidity. The German woman, quoted by Mr. Bryce, found her American compeer furchtbar frei, but she had at once to add und furchtbar fromm. "The innocence of the American girl passes abysses of obscenity without stain or knowledge." She may be perfectly able to hold her own under any circumstances, but she has little of that detestable quality which we call "knowing." The immortal Daisy Miller is a charming illustration ...
— The Land of Contrasts - A Briton's View of His American Kin • James Fullarton Muirhead

... things as they are. "While poetry is based on imitations ... it does not resign the likeness of the truth, since the charm of imitation is probability."[35] As a result of his naturalism, Plutarch admitted as appropriate poetical material immorality and obscenity as well as virtue, because these things are in life. If the copy is good, the poem is artistic and praiseworthy, just as a painting of a venomous spider, if a faithful representation of its loathsome subject, is praised for ...
— Rhetoric and Poetry in the Renaissance - A Study of Rhetorical Terms in English Renaissance Literary Criticism • Donald Lemen Clark

... vicious ideas, whose discourse abounds in obscene detail and ribald jest. Your child must learn either from ignorant, unclean minds, or be taught in a clean, sacred way, which will rob sex of secrecy and obscenity; learn he will; if you will not teach your child, his pet ...
— Epilepsy, Hysteria, and Neurasthenia • Isaac G. Briggs

... scrupulously conform to Mr. Johnson's rules of true orthography.' Johnson, in the last year of his life, at a time of great weakness and depression, defended the roughness of his manner. 'I have done more good as I am. Obscenity and impiety have always been repressed in my company' (post, ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 1 • Boswell

... chapter x of the same book, he describes the manner in which they were celebrated: "They were solemnized with every form of licentiousness. For in addition to the freedom of speech that pours forth every obscenity, the prostitutes, at the importunities of the rabble, strip off their clothing and act as mimes in full view of the crowd, and this they continue until full satiety comes to the shameless lookers-on, holding their attention with their wriggling buttocks." Cato, the ...
— The Satyricon, Complete • Petronius Arbiter

... but the chiefs only knew the aim of the Order, 817-m. Templar secret object the rebuilding of the Temple on the model of Ezekiel, 816-u. Templar Secret Order had princes as Grand Masters, 823-l. Templarism lived under other names, governed by unknown chiefs, 821-u. Templars accused of impiety, obscenity and the worship of Baphomet, 820-m. Templars and Hospitallers took vows of obedience, chastity, poverty, 802-u. Templars arrested and imprisoned by Clement the Fifth and Philip le Bel, 820-m. Templars, at the origin, were ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... FRANCE.—In France, with the exception of Montaigne, it was Rabelais (1495-1553), a physician, philosopher, and humorist, who, notwithstanding his profanity and obscenity, was the most popular author of his day, and who well represents the tone of the Renaissance in that country. Ronsard (1524-1585), an imitator of the Latins and Greeks, was the favorite poet of Mary, ...
— Outline of Universal History • George Park Fisher

... misconduct, in speech and action, as a parrot or an automaton. This is more particularly the case with respect to indecorums, such as the defender is accused of; for a man can no more be held a common swearer, or a habitual talker of obscenity, because he has been guilty of using such expressions when intoxicated, than he can be termed an idiot, because, when intoxicated, he has spoken nonsense. If, therefore, the defender can extenuate the guilt of his intoxication, he hopes that its consequences will be numbered ...
— Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume I (of 10) • John Gibson Lockhart

... disillusionment this was to the young officer. What depths of cruelty and obscenity it revealed in the Parisian rabble. What folly to treat them with the Christian forbearance shown by Louis XVI. How much more suitable was grapeshot than the beatitudes. The lesson was stored up for future use at a somewhat similar crisis ...
— The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... the first part of our text Peter makes an especially emphatic continuation of the admonition in the foregoing part of the chapter, warning Christians to abstain from gross vices—carnal lusts—which in the world lead to obscenity, and from the wild, disorderly, swinish lives of the heathen world, lives of gormandizing, guzzling and drunkenness. Peter admonishes Christians to endeavor to be "sober unto prayer." The epistle was written chiefly to the Greeks, the masses of which people were very social, and inclined ...
— Epistle Sermons, Vol. II - Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost • Martin Luther

... defends it; for the triplicity is a symbol of godhead, and it means that God is the origin of all life. Yes, but what that religion needed was a great reformer, who should have cut the religion clear adrift from idols of every kind, from the old mythology, from obscenity. It may very well be that such a reformer was unthinkable; even if he had appeared, he would have been foredoomed to fail, as the compromise of the Stoics shows. Plutarch and his kind did not attempt ...
— The Jesus of History • T. R. Glover

... throng, whose choice he was, seated aloft upon men's shoulders, with a purple robe thrown on his shoulders, there sat a brawny, grinning, bloated, jibbering thing, with curled lips and savage eyes, and satyr's leer: the creature of greed, of lust, of obscenity, of brutality, of avarice, of desire. This thing the people followed, rejoicing exceedingly, content in the guide whom they had chosen, victorious in the fiend for whom they spurned a deity; crying, with wide ...
— Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida - Selected from the Works of Ouida • Ouida

... assemblies and their counsels, the records of their wars and conquests. At Thebes, too, is the Memnon, a mutilated statue of Amnoph, which never was vocal except by trick or in imagination, and the Obelisks, whose form is sufficiently explained, without obscenity or mystery, by the fancy for monolithic monuments and the possession of large blocks of granite. The remains of the Labyrinth do not enable us to pronounce whether its twenty-seven halls were a burial-place for kings or crocodiles, ...
— The International Magazine, Volume 2, No. 3, February, 1851 • Various

... Nick spent the night there when forced to work overtime. His home life, at best, was a sketchy affair. Here chauffeurs, mechanics, washers lolled at ease exchanging soft-spoken gossip, motor chat, speculation, comment, and occasional verbal obscenity. Each possessed a formidable knowledge of that neighbourhood section of Chicago known as Hyde Park. This knowledge was not confined to car costs and such impersonal items, but included meals, scandals, relationships, ...
— Gigolo • Edna Ferber

... should have retired from their theatre with a much higher idea of the moral tendency of their drama, than was conveyed by the offensive, libidinous scene, exhibited by the ladies in the concluding part. The language of the song, no doubt, corresponded with the obscenity of their actions; which were carried to a degree of extravagance that were calculated to produce nothing but disgust, even to ...
— The Story of the Philippines and Our New Possessions, • Murat Halstead

... repeat (p. xiv.) there is another element in The Nights and that is one of absolute obscenity utterly repugnant to English readers, even the least prudish. It is chiefly connected with what our neighbours call le vice contre nature—as if anything can be contrary to nature which includes all ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 10 • Richard F. Burton

... more moral than his life—for he not only enforced his principles by his example, but also by his precept. His conversation consequently resolved itself into a mingled stream of swearing and obscenity. Ridicule of religion, and a hardened triumph in his own iniquitous exploits, illustrated and confirmed by a prodigality of blasphemous asservations, constituted the staple of his thoughts and expressions. According to his ...
— Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent - The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two • William Carleton

... does conversation seem to have flourished as brilliantly as in France during the last century. But, if we read old French memoirs, we see how many brakes of scrupulosity which tie our tongues to-day were then removed. Where mendacity, treachery, obscenity, and malignity find unhampered expression, talk can be brilliant indeed. But its flame waxes dim where the mind is stitched all over with conscientious fear of violating the moral ...
— Talks To Teachers On Psychology; And To Students On Some Of Life's Ideals • William James

... lusts, their blunt, grim humour, their stoicism under stress, their adventures, their treasures found in a day and gambled in a night, their direct, crude speech, their generosity and cruelty, their heroism and bestiality, their religion and profanity, their self-sacrifice and obscenity—a true and fearless setting forth of a passing phase of history, un-compromising, sincere; each group in its proper environment; the valley, the plain, and the mountain; the ranch, the range, and the mine—all this, all the traits and ...
— The Octopus • Frank Norris

... misses giggled and gave pretty screams, and cried, 'Oh, fie!' and 'lor!' and then the visitors all laughed together? Then Miss ——, a little bolder, hissed at the lunatics herself, and poked them with a stick—and then there was a fresh storm of tears and howls and blasphemy and obscenity; and the keepers, rushing in with heavy cudgels, beat the 'patients' right and left like cattle—and it was all 'so horrible!' Bad, think you? These were the ladies and gentlemen of the old school—the Grandisons and Chesterfields and their dames. ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol 3 No 3, March 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... hung choking in the air like a curtain. Lizards sprawled in the sun, repulsive. A rattlesnake dragged its loathsome length from under a mesquite. The dried carcass of a steer, whose parchment skin drew tight across its bones, rattled in the breeze. Here and there rock ridges showed with the obscenity of so many skeletons, exposing to the hard, cruel sky the earth's nakedness. Thirst, delirium, death, hovered palpable in ...
— Arizona Nights • Stewart Edward White

... from the higher ranks of life, who are doomed to seek the converse of those, who are in a measure corrupted, and, by associating with them on public occasions, often in taverns and alehouses, are soon involved in habits of dissipation and obscenity. Man is a social being, loves society, and, rather than spend his life in solitude, will seek the converse ...
— Twenty-Four Short Sermons On The Doctrine Of Universal Salvation • John Bovee Dods

... a number of children are assembled on such occasions, who listen with high glee to the conversation, whether in the field or at the inn. If it be the grossest profaneness, or the coarsest obscenity, they will sometimes pride themselves in imitating it, thinking it to be manly; and in a like spirit will partake of the glass, and thus commence the drunkard's career.—This practice is conducted somewhat differently in different places, but ...
— The Young Man's Guide • William A. Alcott

... declaration, that he who enters a circus commits murder, is offspring of the same holy zeal that dictates Tertullian's solemn indignation: "In no respect, neither by speaking, nor by seeing, nor by hearing, have we part in the mad antics of the circus, the obscenity of the theatre, or the abominations of the arena." Such expressions prepare one for the passion of another remonstrant who, on a Sabbath, explained to his audience that earthquakes are the signs of God's fierce wrath when He looks down upon ...
— Jewish Literature and Other Essays • Gustav Karpeles

... most, was to see the large number of lads and young men who came in to lounge and drink; and there was scarcely one of them whose face did not show marks of sensuality, or whose language was not marred by obscenity, profanity, or vulgar slang. The subjects of conversation were varied enough, though politics was the most prominent. In regard to politics I heard nothing in the least instructive; but only abuse of individuals and dogmatism on public measures. ...
— Ten Nights in a Bar Room • T. S. Arthur

... infinitely wider range of personal liberty than is possible in some other things, individual liberty must ultimately be governed by the liberty of others. A fanatical religious sect practicing human sacrifice, for instance, could not be tolerated by any civilized society. Obscenity in ...
— Socialism - A Summary and Interpretation of Socialist Principles • John Spargo

... almost beyond calculation. What a resource for hours after work, or when trade is dull, and regular work scarce! What a contrast and counteraction is the healthy, manly, employment which a cottage garden affords, to the close, impure, unwholesome air, the beastliness and obscenity, the waste of time, the destruction of morals, the loss of character, money, and health, which are the inmates of ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 13, - Issue 372, Saturday, May 30, 1829 • Various

... quickened this feverish excitement, which the press constantly instilled into the veins of the people. Its language already bordered on delirium, and borrowed from the population even their proverbs, their love of trifles, their obscenity, their brutality, and even their oaths, with which the articles were interlarded, as though to impress more forcibly its hatred on the ear of its foes. Danton, Hebert, and Marat were the first to adopt this tone, these gestures, and these exclamations of the populace, as though to flatter them ...
— History of the Girondists, Volume I - Personal Memoirs of the Patriots of the French Revolution • Alphonse de Lamartine

... while the young women, her attendants, whose alluring looks already sufficiently indicated their profession, retired into the chapels around the choir, where every species of licentiousness and obscenity was indulged in without control, with hardly any veil from the public gaze. To such a length was this carried, that Robespierre afterward declared that Chaumette deserved death for the abominations he had permitted on that occasion. Thenceforward that ancient edifice was ...
— The Revelation Explained • F. Smith

... of this society, Emil Ruedebusch, known in this country through his work, "The Old and New Ideal," which, by the way, was confiscated upon the grounds of obscenity and the author put on trial. It is an undisputed fact that robust, graft-greedy Columbia abhors every free expression on love or marriage. Emil Ruedebusch, like many others who have dared to lift the veil ...
— Mother Earth, Vol. 1 No. 1, March 1906 • Various

... curses. He shrieked imprecation upon Burgess, Troke, and North. He cursed all soldiers for tyrants, all parsons for hypocrites. He blasphemed his God and his Saviour. With a frightful outpouring of obscenity and blasphemy, he called on the earth to gape and swallow his persecutors, for Heaven to open and rain fire upon them, for hell to yawn and engulf them quick. It was as though each blow of the cat forced out of him a fresh burst of beast-like rage. He seemed to have abandoned his humanity. ...
— For the Term of His Natural Life • Marcus Clarke

... heavily annotated plays are, however, the tragedies, and it is curious to observe that the sombre "problem comedy," Measure for Measure, commands more notes than any other comedy. Further, Johnson's moral and religious sensibilities were offended by profanity and obscenity in the drama, and Shakespeare's comedies, far more than his tragedies and histories, transgress in this direction. One recollects, finally, that the dramatic genre favored most by Johnson was the "she-tragedy." Was Johnson lauding Shakespeare's comedies because the tragedies had been excessively ...
— Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies • Samuel Johnson

... suppressing them. The reason given by the Consul Postumius for these edicts was political, not religious. "Could they think," he asked, "that youths, initiated under such oaths as theirs, were fit to be made soldiers? That wretches brought out of the temple of obscenity could be trusted with arms? That those contaminated with the foul debaucheries of these meetings should be the champions for the chastity of the wives and children of the Roman people?" "Let us now closely examine how far the ...
— The Freethinker's Text Book, Part II. - Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History • Annie Besant

... to the City Prison, not blindly, but with unusual fussy care at corners, the fussiness of an old woman potting plants. It kept him from facing the obscenity of fate. ...
— Babbitt • Sinclair Lewis

... that greeted Marianne was calculated to make his rivals in the field of fiction jealous. Perhaps no one felt more keenly than did Crebillon fils the growing popularity of a novel the purity of which but enhanced the obscenity of his own writings. To this feeling may be attributed his attack upon Marivaux's style in a very free and tiresome story, entitled Tanzai et Neadarne, ou l'Ecumoire, in which his rival's muse is represented as a mole. The ...
— A Selection from the Comedies of Marivaux • Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux

... everything, she has lost the faculty of respecting anything. Virtue, family life, patriotism, honour, religion, are represented to a frivolous generation as fitting subjects of ridicule. The theatres have become schools of shamelessness and obscenity. Drop by drop, poison is instilled into the very core of an ignorant and enervated society, which has neither the insight nor the energy left to amend its institutions, nor—which would be the most ...
— Character • Samuel Smiles

... whose costumes included a short dress and pantalets, which were appreciated for their convenience if not for their beauty. The women also adopted the practice of wearing short hair, which it was claimed saved time and vanity. Tobacco, intoxicants, profanity, obscenity, found no place in the community. The diet consisted largely of vegetables and fruits, while meat, tea and ...
— The Greatest Highway in the World • Anonymous

... prophet was of a creditable simplicity and purity, of too elevated a nature for the Chamars of Chhattisgarh. The crude myths which are now associated with the story of Ghasi Das and the obscenity which distinguishes the ritual of the sect furnish a good instance of the way in which a religion, originally of a high order of morality, will be rapidly degraded to their own level when adopted by a people who are incapable of living ...
— The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India—Volume I (of IV) • R.V. Russell

... with an interval of three-quarters of an hour for dinner. In all three of these men, as in the case of Clark's companions, there had been developed, partly I suppose by the circumstance of enforced idleness of brain, the most loathsome tendency to obscenity. This was the one subject which was common ground, and upon which they could talk. It was fostered too by a passion for beer, which was supplied by the publican across the way, who was perpetually travelling to and fro with cans. My horror when I first ...
— Mark Rutherford's Deliverance • Mark Rutherford

... case came into court, and the judge decided that the two daughters should be given to their mother, but that the custody of the son should be given to the father. She was acquitted of the least impropriety or indiscretion; yet, though the obscenity and profanity of her husband in his own family was shocking, and it was in the last degree painful to that high-minded woman to see her son brought up under the charge of such a man, the law decided that the unworthy father ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... David, after an adultery and a homicide which deserved ignominious death, is suffered to massacre a host of his enemies, cutting some in two with saws and axes and putting others into brick-kilns. For obscenity and impurity we have the tales of Onan and Tamar, Lot and his daughters, Amnon and his fair sister (2 Sam. xiii.), Absalom and his father's concubines, the "wife of whoredoms" of Hosea and, capping all, the Song ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 10 • Richard F. Burton

... Patrick's Cathedral, New York, on Sunday, February 7, 1909, said that "the stage is worse today then it was in the days of paganism." He added: "We see today men and women—old men and old women—who ought to know better bringing the young to these orgies of obscenity. Instead of that they should be exercising a supervision over the young and should ...
— Fighting the Traffic in Young Girls - War on the White Slave Trade • Various

... the private and public life of the degenerate Romans, there was much to call for the hand of a master in satire. And we find in the glowing sketches of our author, all the vigor and point of a Juvenal, without his vulgarity and obscenity; all the burning indignation which the Latin is so peculiarly capable of expressing, with all the vigor and stateliness by which the same language is equally characterized. Tacitus has been sometimes represented as a very Diogenes, for carping and sarcasm—a very Aristophanes, ...
— Germania and Agricola • Caius Cornelius Tacitus

... What was the most revolting piece of obscenity in all your career of crime? Go the whole hog. Puke it out! Be ...
— Ulysses • James Joyce

... his officer and his Lewis gun, in the course of an advance. He had met the Prussian Guard in the open, he and his comrades, and the famous crack corps had "certainly run some." That was not the boy's phrase. When he reached the climax of his tale his language was a rich mixture of blasphemy and obscenity. ...
— A Padre in France • George A. Birmingham

... she were chewing her words in little pieces and spitting them at Kyral. "Oh, you were clever to take us both as your consorts! You did not know it was Rakhal's doing, did you? Hate the Terrans, then!" She spat an obscenity at him. "Enjoy your hate, wallow in hating, and in the end all Shainsa will fall prey ...
— The Door Through Space • Marion Zimmer Bradley

... I produce a horror worthy of myself,' I thought. 'The mist dagger was melodrama to be smiled at. But this—ah, here we have a refinement that reduces death to a minor obscenity. She attacks me now with a weapon worthy my indifference. It is true, my senses writhe less frightenedly. But I, Mallare—yes, Mallare the Supreme One—honor her assault ...
— Fantazius Mallare - A Mysterious Oath • Ben Hecht

... of the souls of men and scourging them with serpents, or driving them with tridents, or dragging them with chains into the flaming mouth of hell. Even in the most hidden and sacred places of the medieval cathedral we still find representations of Satanic power in which profanity and obscenity run riot. In these representations the painter and the glass-stainer vied with the sculptor. Among the early paintings on canvas a well-known example represents the devil in the shape of a dragon, perched near the head of a dying man, eager to seize his soul as it issues ...
— History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom • Andrew Dickson White

... unused to the conduct of the commonwealth, might leave the reins of government in his hands." Accordingly he devised those Carnival triumphs and processions which filled the sombre streets of Florence with Bacchanalian revellers, and the ears of her grave citizens with ill-disguised obscenity. Lorenzo took part in them himself, and composed several choruses of high literary merit to be sung by the masqueraders. One of these carries a refrain which might be chosen as a motto for the spirit of that age upon the ...
— The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti • John Addington Symonds

... were above the vulgar capacity, (which are onely tickled with down-right obscenity) and took not so well at the first stroke, as at the rebound, when beheld the second time, yea, they will endure reading, and that with due commendation, so long as either ingenuity or learning are fashionable in our Nation. ...
— The Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687) • William Winstanley

... longer struggle than in Germany. Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655) plagiarised 'Cymbeline,' 'Hamlet,' and 'The Merchant of Venice' in his 'Agrippina.' About 1680 Nicolas Clement, Louis XIV's librarian, allowed Shakespeare imagination, natural thoughts, and ingenious expression, but deplored his obscenity. {348a} Half a century elapsed before public attention in France was again directed to Shakespeare. {348b} The Abbe Prevost, in his periodical 'Le Pour et Contre' (1733 et seq.), acknowledged his power. ...
— A Life of William Shakespeare - with portraits and facsimiles • Sidney Lee

... together, with no classification between the most and least depraved, without employment, in rags and dirt, and sleeping on the floor with no bedding, the boards simply being raised for a sort of pillow. Liquors were purchased openly at a bar in the prison; and swearing, gambling, obscenity, and pulling each other's hair were common. The walls, both in the men's and women's departments, were hung ...
— Lives of Girls Who Became Famous • Sarah Knowles Bolton

... [Footnote: a favourite outdoor pleasure resort at Stockholm.] and the arrangements were magnificent. But what highly astonished me, and was in reality most out of keeping in such a circle, was the tone that the conversation at table gradually assumed, and especially the obscenity of the subjects of conversation. It was not, however, the Ministers and Diplomats present, but a Danish roue, a professor of Physics, who gave this turn to the talk. He related anecdotes that would have made a sailor blush. Neither Count Manderstroem, nor any ...
— Recollections Of My Childhood And Youth • George Brandes

... the Holi, celebrated with drunkenness and obscenity, takes place in March, and is supposed to be the festival of the vernal equinox (see ante, chapter 27 note 16). The magistrates in India have no duty which requires more tact, discretion, and firmness ...
— Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official • William Sleeman

... everything held dear to piety and faith; in fine, the fearful licentiousness of public manners, the odious devices resorted to for perverting the innocent and the young, the evident wish and aim to make immorality, obscenity, uncleanness triumph among all classes; such are, your Excellency, the rapid and faint outlines of the scandalous state of things created in the Marches by the legislation and discipline so precipitately introduced by the Piedmontese government. We appeal to your ...
— Pius IX. And His Time • The Rev. AEneas MacDonell

... to indecency. Of 142 criminals examined by my father, the tattooing on five showed obscenity of design and position and furnished also a remarkable proof of the insensibility to pain characteristic of criminals, the parts tattooed being the most sensitive of the whole body, and therefore ...
— Criminal Man - According to the Classification of Cesare Lombroso • Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

... and woods and field and all—fused and ran together in a great spatter of red flame and white smoke, and the earth beneath our feet shivered and shook as the twenty-one-centimeter spat out its twenty-one-centimeter mouthful. A vast obscenity of sound beat upon us, making us reel backward, and for just the one-thousandth part of a second I saw a round white spot, like a new baseball, against a cloud background. The poplars, which had bent forward as if before ...
— Paths of Glory - Impressions of War Written At and Near the Front • Irvin S. Cobb

... they should not lose themselves in their feasts, but bid them be soberly merry, and wisely free. I also advise them to get friendly Thrift to be there Caterer, and Temperance to carve at the board, and be very watchful that obscenity, detraction and scurrility be banisht the table; but let their discourse be as savoury as the meat, and so feed as though they did live to eat, and, at last, rise as full of thankfulness, as of food; this hath, this is, and this shall be ...
— A Righte Merrie Christmasse - The Story of Christ-Tide • John Ashton

... shocking obscenity of word and act to which the 'Records' bear witness is another ugly feature which must not quite be passed over in silence. It is true that decency, as we understand it, is a very modern product, and it is not to be looked for in any society ...
— The Religions of Japan - From the Dawn of History to the Era of Meiji • William Elliot Griffis

... horse about sixty yards from the rocks. He shouted a profane order. The purport of it was that Beresford had better come out with his hands up if he didn't want to be dragged out by a rope around his neck. The man's speech crackled with oaths and obscenity. ...
— Man Size • William MacLeod Raine

... brains nor brawn nor endurance? They are sweated in the slums in an atmosphere of discouragement and despair. There is no strength in weakness, no encouragement in foul air, vile food, and dank dens. They are there because they are so made that they are not fit to be higher up; but filth and obscenity do not strengthen the neck, nor does chronic emptiness ...
— War of the Classes • Jack London

... cloak and a large beaver; her appearance is bold and reckless—she is dukkering low tradesmen and servant girls behind the trees at sixpence a head, or is bandying with the voice of a raven slang and obscenity with country boors, or with the blackguard butcher-boys who throng in from Whitechapel and Shoreditch to the Gypsy Fair. At Goodwood, a few weeks after, you may see her in a beautiful half-riding dress, her hair fantastically plaited and adorned with pearls, standing beside the carriage ...
— Romano Lavo-Lil - Title: Romany Dictionary - Title: Gypsy Dictionary • George Borrow

... Poetical Feast teaches the Studious how to banquet. That Thriftiness with Jocoseness, Chearfulness without Obscenity, and learned Stories, ought to season their Feasts. Iambics are bloody. Poets are Men of no great Judgment. The three chief Properties of a good Maid Servant. Fidelity, Deformity, and a high Spirit. A Place out of the Prologue of Terence's Eunuchus ...
— Colloquies of Erasmus, Volume I. • Erasmus

... of the foul "den" in which he passed a good twelve years of his life. Irons and fetters were used to prevent escape, while those who could not obtain the means of subsistence from their friends, suffered the horrors of starvation. Over-crowding, disease, riot, and obscenity united to ...
— Elizabeth Fry • Mrs. E. R. Pitman

... fire, where the harth was imbrodered all over with roasted apples, piping hot, expecting a bole of ale for a cooler, which immediately was transformed into warm lamb wool. After which we discoursed merily, without either prophaneness or obscenity; some went to cards; others sung carols and pleasant songs (suitable to the times), and then the poor laboring Hinds, and maid-servants, with the plow-boys, went nimbly to dancing; the poor toyling wretches being glad of my company, because they had little or no sport at all till I came amongst ...
— Christmas: Its Origin and Associations - Together with Its Historical Events and Festive Celebrations During Nineteen Centuries • William Francis Dawson

... stately matron was ascending the steps of the church of St. Gudule at Brussels. They were covered with ice; she slipped and took a precipitate and involuntary seat. In the anguish of the moment, a single word, of mere obscenity, escaped her lips. When the laughing bystanders, among whom was Erasmus, helped her to her feet, she beat a hasty retreat, crimson with shame. Nowadays ladies do not have such a vocabulary at their ...
— The Age of the Reformation • Preserved Smith

... my surprise, having every appearance of being a grave, respectable man; notwithstanding this undeniable fact, that the libellous journal, to which he thought proper to affix his sanction, trespassed on decency, not only by its slander, but, in some instances, by downright obscenity; and, worse than that, by prurient solicitations to the libidinous imagination, through blanks, seasonably interspersed. I said nothing to him in the way of inquiry; for I easily guessed that the knot of writers who were here clubbing their virus, had not so ill combined their plans as to leave ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... will disarm a foe, there are some ingrates so constituted that it moves them the other way. When Tom replied gently to Zeigler, and asked him privately why he annoyed him without cause, the fellow sneered the more at him. He took pains to indulge in profanity and obscenity before Tom, and received the full reward he sought when he saw how ...
— Brave Tom - The Battle That Won • Edward S. Ellis

... the people. I am nothing to him but a woman, just woman. He makes me feel so ridiculous. He will be prouder of me. He doesn't know any differences. I'm thinking my head off, day and night, how to shake him up. In my despair I dance the can-can. He yawns; and drivels something about obscenity. ...
— Erdgeist (Earth-Spirit) - A Tragedy in Four Acts • Frank Wedekind

... so stiffly that he faltered and almost dropped. Then seeing that I was so much lighter than himself and perhaps valuing himself against me purely on a basis of avoirdupois, pound for pound, he gathered and came at me, roaring out blasphemy and obscenity which I had rather Lafitte ...
— The Lady and the Pirate - Being the Plain Tale of a Diligent Pirate and a Fair Captive • Emerson Hough

... the very Koh-i-noor of blackness. Adopt this proposition, and you will be little better than the foul Harpies who defiled the feast that was spread. The Constitution is the feast spread for our country, and you are now hurrying to drop into its text a political obscenity, and to spread on its page a ...
— History of the Thirty-Ninth Congress of the United States • Wiliam H. Barnes

... a royal chamberlain (not here) who said at dinner to the master of the house at a place where I was dining—that she had brought back his Satirist, but didn't think there was quite so much 'fun' in it as there used to be. I looked at the paper afterwards, and found it crammed with such vile obscenity as positively made ...
— The Life of Charles Dickens, Vol. I-III, Complete • John Forster

... classes and walked the hospitals without undergoing the influences of the unbelief prevailing in those regions, where, on the strength of a little knowledge of the human frame, cartloads of puerile ignorance and anile vulgarity, not to mention obscenity, are uttered in the name of truth by men who know nothing whatever of the things that belong to the deeper nature believed in by the devout and simple, and professed also by many who are perhaps yet farther from a knowledge of its affairs than those who thus treat ...
— Thomas Wingfold, Curate • George MacDonald

... Lactantius, "are female Monsters with birds' bodies. They have a woman's head and breast. Their forwardness, their shamelessness, and their obscenity proceed from their female nature as the poet Virgil demonstrated in his 'Aeneid.' They share the curse ...
— Penguin Island • Anatole France

... took on in Charity's ear a grotesque obscenity, a sacrilegious burlesque of words as holy to her as prayer or the sacred dialect of priests. When Zada murmured, "Kissings! kissings!" Charity screamed: "Stop ...
— We Can't Have Everything • Rupert Hughes

... his company; but he had heard all about it from Miss Williams, and had come to stop. Only then did I fully realise how much of the kindly, delicate-minded gentleman remained behind that veil of profanity and obscenity which he so often ...
— The Stark Munro Letters • J. Stark Munro

... stumbled back To its last ragged memory — a room; Air foul with wine; a shouting, reeling crowd Of friends who dragged him, dazed and blind with drink Out to the street; a crazy rout of cabs; The steady mutter of his neighbor's voice, Mumbling out dull obscenity by rote; And then... well, they had brought him home it seemed, Since he awoke in bed — oh, damn the business! He had not wanted it — the silly jokes, "One last, great night of freedom ere you're married!" "You'll get no fun then!" "H-ssh, don't tell that story! He'll have a wife soon!" ...
— Young Adventure - A Book of Poems • Stephen Vincent Benet

... opposition of a few friends of liberty. One of these bills was designed to add to the stringency of the present obstructive medical law; the other was designed to assist the labors of Anthony Comstock in interrupting the circulation of popular physiological literature, under pretence of suppressing obscenity. ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, July 1887 - Volume 1, Number 6 • Various

... my last on the subject of Christianity, he said he had prepared a long letter; for which I looked out in vain, though he wrote to me every day on other topics—chiefly a tissue of obscenity ...
— My Ten Years' Imprisonment • Silvio Pellico

... weekly Miscellany, with a severity he did not seem inclined to forget: But a return of invective was not thought a sufficient punishment. The court of King's-Bench was moved against him, and he was obliged to return an answer to a charge of obscenity. It was urged in his defence, that obscenity was only criminal, when it was intended to promote the practice of vice; but that Mr. Savage had only introduced obscene ideas, with a view of exposing them to detestation, ...
— The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753),Vol. V. • Theophilus Cibber

... every night, drinking after every dance, living in the fumes of liquor and tobacco, and in constant jangle of profanity and obscenity, how long is required to snuff out every spark of womanliness that a girl may bring with ...
— Fifteen Years With The Outcast • Mrs. Florence (Mother) Roberts

... country, and I blush for the name of religion while I relate it. I have, in one hour, heard more blasphemy and more lewd language at the table of one of these clergymen of the established church, than ever polluted the walls of my house in all my life. I have heard more obscenity flow from the lips of one of these hoary-headed dignified pastors of the church of England, aye, one who resides in this county too, than I ever heard come from the lips of all the reformers I was ever acquainted with in my life. I ...
— Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1 • Henry Hunt

... outside, but was plainly under great excitement, for he now folded his napkin with care, a crime of which I knew Ellabelle had broken him the first week in New York, years before. I noticed their butler had the fine feeling to look steadily away at the wall during this obscenity. The offender then made a pleasant remark about the beauty of the day and left the palatial apartment swiftly. Young Angus and his mother looked at each other and strolled after him softly over rugs costing about eighty thousand dollars. The husband and father was being ...
— Somewhere in Red Gap • Harry Leon Wilson

... they do no moral mischief, and that if they possess not the bold outline and faithful colouring of nature which distinguished the productions of their mighty predecessors, they are no less exempt from the obscenity and immoral effects of those authors. As bad writing is infinitely easier than good, the pens of our living dramatic writers in general teem with an inconceivable fertility—and the purlieus of London are ...
— The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor - Volume I, Number 1 • Stephen Cullen Carpenter

... and corruption on the grossest scale were the principal means for getting into Parliament. Mr. Dowdeswell, M.P. for Worcestershire, said to the Commons, "You have turned out a member for impiety and obscenity. What halfdozen members of this House ever meet over a convivial bottle, that their discourse is entirely free from obscenity, impiety, or abuse ...
— Thrift • Samuel Smiles

... Servien and spat in his face; she abandoned herself to a frantic orgy of obscenity in word and gesture and clapped the muzzle of her revolver ...
— The Aspirations of Jean Servien • Anatole France

... afraid. It is still in circulation in Germany, I believe, on its merits as a serious book. I haven't a copy of the edition in English. THAT was all exhausted by collectors who bought it for its supposed obscenity, like Burton's 'Arabian Nights.' Come this way, and I will ...
— The Damnation of Theron Ware • Harold Frederic

... reach, or nature might. O when I read those excellent things of thine, Such strength, such sweetness couched in ev'ry line, Such life of fancy, such high choice of brain, Nought of the vulgar wit or borrow'd strain, Such passion, such expressions meet my eye, Such wit untainted with obscenity, And these so unaffectedly exprest, All in a language purely flowing drest, And all so born within thyself, thine own, So new, so fresh, so nothing trod upon: I grieve not now that old Menander's vein Is ruin'd to survive ...
— Microcosmography - or, a Piece of the World Discovered; in Essays and Characters • John Earle

... common consent incomparable. Side by side by these are to be found, as in Lovelace, pieces that will not even scan, and, as not in Lovelace (who is not seldom loose but never nasty), pieces of a dull and disgusting obscenity. But we do not go to Suckling for these; we go to him for his easy grace, his agreeable impudence, his scandalous mock-disloyalty (for it is only mock-disloyalty after all) to the "Lord of Terrible Aspect," whom all his elder contemporaries ...
— A History of English Literature - Elizabethan Literature • George Saintsbury

... the stomach of Mrs Tabby, who had not yet digested the affront of his naked skin — She tossed her nose in disdain, saying, she supposed her brother had taken him into favour, because he had insulted her with his obscenity: that a fool and his money were soon parted; but that if Matt intended to take the fellow with him to London, she would not go a foot further that way — My uncle said nothing with his tongue, though his looks were sufficiently expressive; ...
— The Expedition of Humphry Clinker • Tobias Smollett

... as enjoyable, what the present discards as disgusting. Ladies of the highest rank sat through plays of which the purpose and effect was to degrade their own womanhood, to remove from the minds of the men who sat about and watched their countenances at each new obscenity, whatever respect for the sex might have lingered there. Some wore masks to hide the blushes which might have been looked for as a drama proceeded, which represented every female character on the stage as little better than ...
— A History of English Prose Fiction • Bayard Tuckerman

... many homes are there in which the gentle words of love are never heard; in which the tender graces of a Christian heart are never unfolded; in which a prayer is never uttered! How many fathers are there whose lips are black with profanity and foul with obscenity, and whose lives are mean and unwholesome! How many mothers are there whose tongues are nimble with scandal and bitter with scolding, and whose brains are busy with vanities and jealousies! Ah! if there be any man or woman in this world who has no moral right to have a child, it is one who has ...
— Lessons in Life - A Series of Familiar Essays • Timothy Titcomb

... inexorable demands of rigid rules compelled his incessant obedience, vigilance, activity, and self-denial. He had known nothing from his childhood up except an atmosphere of amusement, refinement, brilliancy, and idleness; he came where gnawing hunger, brutalized jest, ceaseless toil, coarse obscenity, agonized pain, and pandemonaic mirth alternately filled the measure ...
— Under Two Flags • Ouida [Louise de la Ramee]

... their homes. This festival is said to be the most ancient of any known, and during the earlier and purer ages of human faith was celebrated in honor of returning spring. In later ages, however, after passion had become the only recognized god, May-day was celebrated with "all manner of obscenity and lewdness." ...
— The God-Idea of the Ancients - or Sex in Religion • Eliza Burt Gamble

... imputed to this poet, which very much obscure, if not entirely efface, his glory. These are, low buffoonery, and gross obscenity; and it has in vain been attempted to offer, in excuse for the first of these faults, the character of his audience; the bulk of which generally consisted of the poor, the ignorant, and dregs of the people, whom, however, ...
— The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, • Charles Rollin

... appeal of helplessness, innocence and beauty. One of the band, a tall broad-shouldered man of middle-age, with an immense quantity of whiskers perhaps worn as a visible sign of inward wildness, was, despite his hardened nature, moved to remonstrance. Under cover of lurid oaths and outrageous obscenity, he advanced his opinion that "the kid" needn't be shot just because her father was a ...
— Lahoma • John Breckenridge Ellis

... and language such as now exists only among the most ignorant or depraved people in civilized lands. The advent of Christian civilization in Europe left no place for temples and worship of sensuality, but still the age-old tendency towards a crude and barbaric kind of sexual vulgarity and obscenity has continued in folklore, in colloquial language, and in literature. However, there has been a vast change in the attitude of the best people within the last two centuries. Once many English writers, many of them now deservedly obscure, published prose and poetry that would now be criminal. ...
— Sex-education - A series of lectures concerning knowledge of sex in its - relation to human life • Maurice Alpheus Bigelow

... public, to produce, at this moment, peculiar and irremediable mischief. The style of composition, as we have already hinted, is almost new in this country: it is less offensive than the old fashion of obscenity; and for these reasons, perhaps, is less likely to excite the suspicion of the moralist, or to become the object of precaution to those who watch over the morals of the young and inexperienced. We certainly have known it a permitted study, where ...
— Famous Reviews • Editor: R. Brimley Johnson

... crime rule supreme; from the gin-palace, and the beer-shop, and the midnight haunts of the tramp and the burglar, they came in all their repulsiveness and debasement, with the rags of wretchedness upon their backs, and the cries of profanity and obscenity upon their lips. Forward they rushed in a surging flood through many a street and byway, until where the narrowing thoroughfares open into the space surrounding the New Bailey Prison, in that suburb of the great city known as the Borough of Salford, ...
— The Dock and the Scaffold • Unknown

... exposed themselves to sufferings, which on ordinary occasions would have been sufficient to deprive them of life. The scenes that occurred were a scandal to civilization and to religion — a strange mixture of obscenity, absurdity, and superstition. While some were praying on bended knees at the shrine of St. Paris, others were shrieking and making the most hideous noises. The women especially exerted themselves. On one side of the chapel there might be seen a score of them, ...
— Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Vol. I • Charles Mackay

... passer-by. He saw them locked up in prison-cells, under the charge of jailers that were half brute, half fiend; he saw Fred and Minnie carried off by an Italian padrone to a den reeking with filth, and loud with oaths and obscenity. With a hoarse shout of rage he would spring up to avert blows that were bruising their little forms; he saw his wife turn her despairing eyes from heaven and curse the hour of their union; he saw Mildred, writhing and resisting, ...
— Without a Home • E. P. Roe

... Eddie was, physically, the cleanest member of the band the youth wondered how he had come by his sobriquet—that is, he wondered until he heard Dirty Eddie speak, after which he was no longer in doubt. The Oskaloosa Kid, self-confessed 'tramp' and burglar, flushed at the lurid obscenity ...
— The Oakdale Affair • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... how far this is merely due to defective education and therefore modifiable, and how far it is based on an eradicable tendency of the human mind. Of course the forms of obscenity vary in every age, they are varying every day. Much which for the old Roman was obscene is not so for us; much which for us is obscene would have made a Roman smile at our simplicity. But even savages sometimes have ...
— Impressions And Comments • Havelock Ellis

... told by Lady Henry Somerset that when the first set of children came down from London for a fortnight's holiday in the country, she was much startled and shocked by the obscenity of the games they played amongst themselves. Being a sound psychologist, Lady Henry wisely refrained from appearing surprised or from attempting any direct method of reproof. "I saw," she said, "that the 'goody' element would have no effect, ...
— The Art of the Story-Teller • Marie L. Shedlock

... seen many wantonly cruel men. I have known numbers of mates of Mississippi river steamers—a class which seems carefully selected from ruffians most proficient in profanity, obscenity and swift-handed violence; I have seen negro-drivers in the slave marts of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, and overseers on the plantations of Mississippi and Louisiana; as a police reporter in one ...
— Andersonville, complete • John McElroy



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