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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 ?
Inside, together with other passengers we protested and asked the driver to stop playing the obscene video but he refused.
Within West Yorkshire, Calderdale has the highest rate of obscene publication offences with 77 or 3.
In 1942, this system formally came to be known as the Obscene File, and it remained in force until the 1990s when the F.
The three companies on Obscene Interactive's list have developed gaming features that can be integrated into mobile devices, social networks or online portals, Obscene said.
Obscene Interactive has identified both companies and developers with existing and planned games that engage gamers and leverage the success of industry leaders such as Zynga, CrowdStar and Playdom.
It is also evident that such contents are continuously openly and freely available to everyone who is using the said network irrespective of their age and even the persons under the age of 18 years have full and uncensored access to such obscene contents," the court added.
Sajedi-nia also said that his officers seized a large quantity of both women's and men's clothes "with obscene marks on them.
He argued the image, which he was said to have found "funny", was neither obscene nor indecent at a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing.
Gavin Smith, 39, is the first in Britain to be charged under the Obscene Publications Act over online remarks.
Lee McLelland, 25, sent filthy messages and made obscene phone calls to girlfriend Michelle Kennedy, 27, after she refused to visit him in Ayr Hospital.
I FREQUENTLY hear people complain about the obscene language they hear on buses from young people.
Truly, the word obscene isn't strong enough to describe these two.