profanity = 'obscene word or phrase'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 16 23:32:14 UTC 2014

OED 1969 (insufficiently differentiated, I think), and mentioned here
before. A unmistakable antedating:

1964 Arthur S. Link in _N.Y. Times Book Review_ (March 8) 6:  Wilson, Smith
writes, "burst into a stream of profanities and obscenities." Wilson
occasionally used "damn" and "hell" in conversation, but never, insofar as
this reviewer knows, profanities and obscenities,

"D--n" and "h--l," of course, were top nineteenth-century profanities, so
Prof. Link (editor of Woodrow Wilson's papers) must have believed that
"profanity" and "obscenity" were essentially synonymous.

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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