pornography

[ pawr-nog-ruh-fee ]SEE DEFINITION OF pornography
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Pornography, an eminent American jurist has pointed out, is distinguished by the "leer of the sensualist."

WORD ORIGIN

1843, "ancient obscene painting, especially in temples of Bacchus," from French pornographie, from Greek pornographos "(one) depicting prostitutes," from porne "prostitute," originally "bought, purchased" (with an original notion, probably of "female slave sold for prostitution"), related to pernanai "to sell," from PIE root *per- (5) "to traffic in, to sell" (see price (n.)) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). A brothel in ancient Greek was a porneion.

In reference to modern works by 1859 (originally French novels), later as a charge against native literature; sense of "obscene pictures" in modern times is from 1906. Also sometimes used late 19c. for "description of prostitutes" as a matter of public hygiene. The "Medical Archives" in 1873 proposed porniatria for "the lengthy and really meaningless expression 'social evil hospital' ...."

In ancient contexts, often paired with rhypography, "genre painting of low, sordid, or unsuitable subjects." Pornocracy (1860) is "the dominating influence of harlots," used specifically of the government of Rome during the first half of the 10th century by Theodora and her daughters. Pornotopia (1966) was coined to describe the ideal erotic-world of pornographic movies.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR PORNOGRAPHY

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.