ob·scene (ŏb-sēn, əb-)
a. Offensive to accepted standards of decency.
b. Law Of or relating to materials that can be regulated or criminalized because their depiction of nudity, sex, or excretion is patently offensive and without artistic or scientific value.
a. Morally repulsive; disgusting: "The way he writes about the disease that killed her is simply obscene" (Michael Korda).
b. So extreme in amount as to be objectionable or outrageous: "hammered by stratospheric rents and obscene taxes" (Joe Queenan).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.