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Offensive to recognized standards of decency.

The term obscene is applied to written, verbal, or visual works or conduct that treat sex in an objectionable or lewd or lascivious manner. Although the First Amendment guarantees freedom of expression, such constitutional protection is not extended to obscene works. To determine whether a work is obscene, the trier of fact applies the three-pronged guidelines established by the U.S. Supreme Court in miller v. california, 413 U.S. 15, 93 S. Ct. 2607, 37 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1973):

(a) whether the "average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work depicting or describing sexual conduct when taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest…, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.


Freedom of Speech; Pornography.


adj., adv. a highly subjective reference to material or acts which display or describe sexual activity in an obviously disgusting manner, appealing only to "prurient interest," with no legitimate artistic, literary or scientific purpose. Pictures, writings, film or public acts which are found to be obscene are not protected by the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment. However, "one person's obscenity is another person's art," or "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." (See: pornography)


adjective bawdy, broad, debauched, foul, immodest, immoral, impure, indecent, indelicate, inquinatus, lascivious, lecherous, lewd, libidinous, licentious, lubricous, lurid, lustful, obscenus, offensive, offensive to decency, offensive to modesty, patently offensive, pornographic, profligate, ribald, risque, salacious, scabrous, sensual, sexy, shameful, shameless, spicy, tending to excite lustful desires, turpis, unchaste, unwholesome, vile, vulgar, wanton
See also: depraved, lascivious, lewd, licentious, objectionable, prurient, repulsive, salacious, scurrilous, suggestive


References in periodicals archive ?
Which teams had no obscenely overpaid players in the comfort zone?
Former marine, now famous artist, tall, handsome Chase Malone is asked by an obscenely wealthy international arms dealer, Derek Ballasar, to paint a portrait of his young, beautiful wife Sienna (before he kills her as he has done three other wives).
Both are dangerously armed--one with the nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerful, the other with the incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless.
For weeks, the hellish scenes have been lavishly, obscenely portrayed for all to see, over and over again, on television, in magazines and newspapers.
All of this work is obscenely time-consuming," Schiff points out.
Paired with your advertisers, who are trying to make a killing off people's fears by selling products at obscenely inflated prices, I am left with a measure of distaste for recent issues.
As in 1938, the Bartender is a grotesque figure with a large, padded stomach that he heaves up obscenely with hands high on his thighs.
Hyde (R-IL), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will press ahead with his amendment to the Juvenile Justice legislation giving parents authority to limit access by children younger than 17 to obscenely violent material.
Evelyn Amato, 31, said the man in a cat costume yanked her from her seat, grabbed her head and obscenely thrust his pelvis at her face.
Back from the grave and obscenely funny, Lenny Bruce fought for free speech by inciting social and politically profane expression through thought-provoking humor.
Apart from the TV interviews, the magazine photoshoots, the endless selfies, the constant stream of self-promotion on social networking sites, the publicity circus of an obscenely ostentatious wedding, the phone app that reportedly will earn her more than PS100million.
Lane, 18, wore a T-shirt with "killer" scrawled across it and smirked and gestured obscenely when he appeared in court in Ohio.