Definition of profane in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈfān/


1Relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious: a talk that tackled topics both sacred and profane
More example sentences
  • Without considering arguments to the contrary, he asserts that a hierarchical ordering of reality and 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, God's grace and our efforts tend to be fudged.
  • We are by nature incurably drawn to ritual in the realms of both the sacred and the profane.
secular, lay, nonreligious, temporal
formal laic
1.1(Of a person) not initiated into religious rites or any esoteric knowledge: he was an agnostic, a profane man
More example sentences
  • 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.
2(Of a person or their behavior) not respectful of orthodox religious practice; irreverent: desecration of the temple by profane adolescents
More example sentences
  • 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.
irreverent, irreligious, ungodly, godless, unbelieving, impious, disrespectful, sacrilegious
2.1(Of language) blasphemous or obscene.
Example sentences
  • 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.’
obscene, blasphemous, indecent, foul, vulgar, crude, filthy, dirty, smutty, coarse, rude, offensive, indecorous


[with object]
Treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect: it was a serious matter to profane a tomb
More example sentences
  • When the older man learns that Isaac plans to move to Israel and participate in the resettling of the land, he breaks out in anger and reproaches Isaac for profaning the sacred bequest of Israel.
  • 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.
desecrate, violate, defile, treat sacrilegiously



Pronunciation: /ˌpräfəˈnāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • He elevated acts of profanation or desecration to the status of epiphanies: singular mystical moments of Oneness with the All.
  • It is a profanation of religion to declare oneself a terrorist in the name of God, to do violence to others in his name.
  • And it is your duty to the Sacrament - that It might not suffer profanation.


Pronunciation: /prəˈfānlē/
Example sentences
  • When I discovered what they were plotting, I made plain, concisely and profanely, that this gesture struck me as the antithesis of doing the right thing.
  • A young black man entered the car and began to rap loudly - profanely, arrogantly - with the usual wild gestures.
  • The coffee itself is better than some, not as good as others, but profanely overpriced.


Pronunciation: /prəˈfānnəs/
Example sentences
  • The most potent response to profaneness is to strive for more holiness.


Example sentences
  • Ain't this is a great country - free bologna sandwiches for profaners!


Late Middle English (in the sense 'heathen'): from Old French prophane, from Latin profanus 'outside the temple, not sacred', from pro- (from pro 'before') + fanum 'temple'.

  • The early sense of this was ‘heathen’ from Latin profanus ‘outside the temple, not sacred’ from Latin pro- ‘before’ and fanum ‘temple’.

Words that rhyme with profane

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·fane

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