Definition of graffiti in English:

graffiti

Line breaks: graf|fiti
Pronunciation: /grəˈfiːti
 
/

noun (singular graffito /-təʊ/)

[treated as singular or plural]
  • Writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place: the station was covered in graffiti
    More example sentences
    • A classroom was trashed and walls were daubed with graffiti spray before the wooden library door was set alight.
    • In Cricklade, its store has had graffiti sprayed on the walls.
    • Police in Swindon are urging residents to come forward with clues to help snare vandals who sprayed racist graffiti on walls in Old Town.

verb

[with object] (usually as adjective graffitied) Back to top  
  • 1Write or draw graffiti on (something): the graffitied walls
    More example sentences
    • In January 2001 three-quarters of their pavilion was burnt down, costing an estimated £200,000 to repair, and the metal shutters were graffitied just last week.
    • The youths used threatening behaviour, caused damage to vehicles, threw missiles at neighbours' property, verbally abused and intimidated neighbours and graffitied the area.
    • It is heavily graffitied and the dripping paint forms a chaotic pattern that completely disrupts the flat and freshly plowed field in the background.
  • 1.1Write (words or drawings) as graffiti: graffitied names sprayed on bus shelters
    More example sentences
    • When a platoon of American troops in WWII were making their way across Europe, they came across a bombed-out monastery with these words graffitied on its basement wall.
    • ‘The paramilitaries have graffitied threats against us on the walls.’
    • When Nazi swastikas were graffitied around where he worked, it took managers over a year to have them cleaned up.

Derivatives

graffitist

noun
More example sentences
  • The recently-erected bus shelters are much appreciated by the bus-travelling public, but graffitists and worse are already targeting them.
  • A graffitist wants his tag or piece (and the overwhelming majority are male) to be conspicuous for as long as possible
  • After all, a graffitist can scrawl an offensive message in seconds.

Origin

mid 19th century: from Italian (plural), from graffio 'a scratch'.

Usage

In Italian the word graffiti is a plural noun and its singular form is graffito. Traditionally, the same distinction has been maintained in English, so that graffiti, being plural, would require a plural verb: the graffiti were all over the wall . By the same token, the singular would require a singular verb: there was a graffito on the wall . Today, these distinctions survive in some specialist fields such as archaeology but sound odd to most native speakers. The most common modern use is to treat graffiti as if it were a mass noun, similar to a word like writing, and not to use graffito at all. In this case, graffiti takes a singular verb, as in the graffiti was all over the wall . Such uses are now widely accepted as standard. A similar process is going on with other words such as agenda, data, and media.

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