Definition of profane in English:


Line breaks: pro|fane
Pronunciation: /prəˈfeɪn


  • 1Not relating to that which is sacred or religious; secular: a talk that tackled topics both sacred and profane
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    • 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, non-religious, non-church, temporal, worldly, earthly; unsanctified, unconsecrated, unhallowed
    rare laic
  • 1.1(Of a person) not initiated into religious rites or any esoteric knowledge: he was an agnostic, a profane man
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    • 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.


[with object] Back to top  
  • Treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect: it was a serious matter to profane a tomb
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    • 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 with disrespect, debase, degrade, contaminate, pollute, taint



Pronunciation: /prɒfəˈneɪʃ(ə)n/
More 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.


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  • 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.


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  • The most potent response to profaneness is to strive for more holiness.


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  • 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 Latin pro 'before') + fanum 'temple'.

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