pornography

pornography 1857, "description of prostitutes," from Fr. pornographie, from Gk. pornographos " (one) writing of 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- "to traffic in, to sell," Cf. L. pretium "price") + graphein "to write" (see -GRAPHY (Cf. -graphy)). Originally used of classical art and writing; application to modern examples began 1880s. Main modern meaning "salacious writing or pictures" represents a slight shift from the etymology, though classical depictions of prostitution usually had this quality.
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [hard-core pornography]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that. [U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, concurring opinion, "Jacobellis v. Ohio," 1964]
Pornographer is earliest form of the word, attested from 1850. 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.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pornography — por·nog·ra·phy /pȯr nä grə fē/ n: material that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement ◇ Pornographic material is protected expression unless it is determined to be obscene. However, child pornography is illegal under …   Law dictionary

  • Pornography — Студийный альбом The Cure …   Википедия

  • Pornography — Album par The Cure Sortie 3 mai 1982[1] Enregistrement janvier 1982 février 1982 au RAK Studio One à Londres Durée …   Wikipédia en Français

  • pornography —    Pornography is defined by US anti porn activist Andrea Dworkin as: ‘the graphic depiction of whores’ (Dworkin, 1981). Most pornography does indeed feature women posing in sexually revealing positions for money. However, in the light of the… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Pornography — bonkbuster carnography climate porn debt porn domestic pornography drive by porn eco porn …   New words

  • pornography — [n] obscenity adult material, adult movie, bawdiness, dirt, dirty movie, erotica, filth, girlie magazine, hard core pornography, indecency, obscene materials, porn, porno, porno film, sexploitation, sexually explicit material, skin flick, smut,… …   New thesaurus

  • Pornography — Por*nog ra*phy, n. [Gr. ? a harlot + graphy.] 1. Licentious painting or literature; especially, the painting anciently employed to decorate the walls of rooms devoted to bacchanalian orgies. [1913 Webster] 2. (Med.) A treatise on prostitutes, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pornography — ► NOUN ▪ printed or visual material intended to stimulate sexual excitement. DERIVATIVES pornographer noun pornographic adjective. ORIGIN Greek pornographos writing about prostitutes …   English terms dictionary

  • pornography — [pôr näg′rə fē] n. [< Gr pornographos, writing about prostitutes < pornē, a prostitute, orig. a euphemism, lit., (something) sold, akin to pernēmi, to sell (esp. as a slave, or for a bribe) < IE base * per , to sell, bring across, come… …   English World dictionary

  • Pornography — Porn redirects here. For other uses, see Porn (disambiguation). For other uses, see Pornography (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

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