Definition of profane in English:


Pronunciation /prəˈfān/ /prəˈfeɪn/

Translate profane into Spanish


  • 1Relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious.

    ‘a talk that tackled topics both sacred and profane’
    • ‘He asserts that a division between the sacred and the profane are essential to the religious worldview.’
    • ‘Sin and damnation are downplayed, and the distinctions between heaven and earth, the profane and the sacred, tend to be fudged.’
    • ‘We are by nature incurably drawn to ritual in the realms of both the sacred and the profane.’
    • ‘Again, the composer suggests the reconciliation of sacred and profane, the religious and the sensual.’
    • ‘Inscribing the most sacred symbol on something profane and worldly, such as money, works against the religious canons.’
    • ‘He was as interested in the sacred as in the profane, in devotion and deviation alike.’
    • ‘Our attention is then drawn to the case of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel and the question of whether profane work is a stumbling block to spiritual depth.’
    • ‘Is Babel wholly profane and the Bible wholly holy?’
    • ‘As Mark Taylor puts it, ‘the death of God is not a simple negation but a complex process in which the divine becomes incarnate when the profane is grasped as sacred’.’
    • ‘The Church, however, has been unable to eradicate the blend of sacred and profane, spiritual and sensuous, life within death, which the East Slavs had inherited from their pagan ancestors.’
    • ‘In the name of tradition, authorities lay claim to the power to manage with mantras of expansive truth and clarity seldom attained in the profane world of experimental science.’
    • ‘He says that we largely live in profane space now, and the best we can do is create ‘ceremonies’ that give the appearance of sacred space but not the reality.’
    • ‘In most writings and interviews, the profane world is interpreted as a place of probation and is explained as an illusion or a bridge to other worlds.’
    • ‘He joined me from the cabin, offering a beer and various kinds of counsel, profane wisdom of the world.’
    • ‘The culture is not wholly profane, but it has gifts to offer and wounds to heal.’
    • ‘It is convenient to reserve significant parts of the world as profane, and even ‘dirty,’ in order to preserve our ability to act in them without scruple.’
    • ‘Within taboo and transgression the interplay between the profane and the sacred is a dangerous one.’
    • ‘I think what happens is we have these two tendencies, divine and diabolical, the sinner and the saint, the sacred and profane.’
    secular, lay, non-religious, non-church, temporal, worldly, earthly
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    1. 1.1(of a person) not initiated into religious rites or any esoteric knowledge.
      ‘he was an agnostic, a profane man’
      • ‘Augustine was a renegade against his mother's religion; took profane mistresses and lapsed into Manichaeism, a religion whose dualism always had a strong appeal for him.’
      • ‘For the profane audience, these meanings remain hidden.’
      • ‘The profane person simply hasn't worked up a sweat trying to figure it out for himself.’
      • ‘This is a very profane interpretation and shows a huge misunderstanding of the canon.’
  • 2(of a person or their behavior) not respectful of orthodox religious practice; irreverent.

    ‘desecration of the temple by profane adolescents’
    • ‘Now after the accident, when it became apparent that he had changed, he's described as having become profane, irreverent, not showing much deference for his fellows.’
    • ‘That means demanding that they answer for their lies, hypocrisy and profane behavior, just as much as we must answer for ours.’
    • ‘As a Pagan I consider these things sacred, so to me this is truly profane behavior.’
    • ‘If at that time humans were any less perverse, selfish, materialistic, profane, etc., than they had ever been, this should come as a great shock to all social historians.’
    • ‘A profane act demeans both the perpetrator and the one who is acted upon by disrespecting the Divine Force residing in each.’
    • ‘He was easily the smartest, funniest, most annoying and most profane man I've been around.’
    • ‘The Tamils in Singapore dismiss my plays as vulgar and profane, for, I subvert the images of the pseudo-Tamil culture.’
    • ‘The questions can be completely anonymous and we encourage you to challenge the boundaries of the profane, the indecent and the naughty.’
    • ‘The characters are crude, profane gangsters who acknowledge only the class distinction of power.’
    • ‘He was hostile, aggressive, profane, rude, demeaning and intimidating.’
    irreverent, ungodly, godless, impious, disrespectful, irreligious, unbelieving, disbelieving, sacrilegious, idolatrous
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    1. 2.1(of language) blasphemous or obscene.
      ‘The FCC, by law, must prohibit the utterance of ‘any obscene, indecent or profane language by means of radio communication.’’
      • ‘Often using obscene, offensive and profane language she succeeds in shocking the reader out of the middle-class complacency that numbs the senses of the public.’
      • ‘When two foremen told him to ‘control himself,’ he quickly ‘became abusive and used obscene and profane language to both of them.’’
      • ‘We strongly encourage that you refrain from any profane or indecent language.’
      • ‘However, in court, Erin's surly manner and profane vocabulary do not endear her to the jury, which finds in the defendant's favor.’
      • ‘Letter writers gratuitously laced their responses with profane and vulgar language, as if it were a badge of honor.’
      • ‘All the anger and profane, obscene raileries come out in a torrent in one of Brando's most magnificent performances.’
      • ‘I don't think I've gotten any more profane and offensive, lately, that I can see, and I tend to talk in much the same way as I always have, about much the same sort of things.’
      • ‘He is sponsoring a bill that would require the FCC to define any use of eight dirty words as profane.’
      • ‘My favorite curse word, unlike the favorite curse word of most of my guests, is not obscene, it's not scatological, it's profane.’
      • ‘And he had the habit of often making obscene, vulgar, or profane comments to other people he associated with, whether he knew them or not.’
      • ‘Rizzo's language, which was hilariously profane, got cleaned up in print.’
      • ‘But he slowly recovered himself after some profane mutterings, reeled up the next flight of stairs, and finally deposited his well-soaked clay on the bed in his own room immediately over mine.’
      • ‘They form a tongue-in-cheek rock band spouting lyrics as funny as they are profane.’
      • ‘Thirty years after Cohen, there's no excuse for police departments to have their officers arrest people for carrying allegedly profane signs in public.’
      • ‘Maybe we ought to have flashmobs where people gather to recite profane poetry…’
      • ‘The dialogue is quite profane, but it perfectly captures the mood of era.’
      obscene, blasphemous, foul, vulgar, crude, filthy, dirty, smutty, coarse, rude, offensive, scurrilous, off colour, indecent, indecorous
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transitive verb

[with object]
  • Treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect.

    ‘it was a serious matter to profane a tomb’
    • ‘When Elijah complained, ‘they have slain your prophets, they have profaned your altars and only I am left’, the Lord replied, ‘What are you doing here?’
    • ‘Sellers take pride in their wealth and because of this, their holy places will be profaned.’
    • ‘This was particularly manifest in the way that the Sabbath was profaned and family worship neglected.’
    • ‘Paul warns the Corinthians that if they eat and drink in an unworthy manner, they will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.’
    • ‘The thought came into his mind, as he was profaning the Lord's Day, that he must either be converted or sent to hell to be damned.’
    • ‘Finally, of course, are those religious advocates who regard us as at best profaning the sacred, or at worst promoting the work of Satan.’
    • ‘I've received quite a few emails about the Darwin Fish, mostly to the effect that it takes a sacred Christian symbol and profanes it.’
    • ‘Thomas, they railed, had profaned a sacred text.’
    • ‘All that was sacred has been profaned, as Marx put it, and it is not clear what, if anything, is sacred anymore.’
    • ‘Jesus retorted that the priests had already profaned the holy day.’
    • ‘When he violates this sacred trust, he not only profanes his entire cult, but threatens the fabric of international society.’
    • ‘To have your religion distorted and ridiculed and then to have one of your culture's most deeply treasured expressions purposely profaned - well, it's not very pleasant.’
    • ‘The mere presence of the US profanes those holy shrines.’
    • ‘One of Christianity's holiest shrines was profaned by armed terrorists.’
    • ‘Does it matter if John Wayne has profaned the Prophet?’
    • ‘Any profanity or harm to the parent is as if we've profaned God.’
    desecrate, violate, defile, treat with disrespect, debase, degrade, contaminate, pollute, taint
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘heathen’): from Old French prophane, from Latin profanus ‘outside the temple, not sacred’, from pro- (from Latin pro ‘before’) + fanum ‘temple’.