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Learned borrowing from Latin prūriēns, present participle of prūriō (itch).



prurient (comparative more prurient, superlative most prurient)

  1. Uneasy with desire; itching; especially, having a lascivious anxiety or propensity; lustful.
    • 1823, “The London Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, Etc”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1], page 781:
      We know that at that period certain indecencies in the dresses, even of those who were considered as the most refined and polished men of the age, were not only tolerated but ostentatiously displayed, and every sort of device that the most prurient mind could think of was had recourse to, to attract attention or excite a smile.
    • 1995, Brian Parkinson, Ideas and Realities of Emotion[2], page 124:
      For example, some of the more prudish senders may have averted their attention from the sexual pictures while other more prurient viewers may have intensified their gaze.
    • 2010 [2008], Stephen Sartarelli, Love and the Erotic in Art[3], US: John Paul Getty Trust, translation of Amore ed erotismo by Stefano Zuffi, page 7:
      It must be removed at once, lest it disturb the young and arouse in adults the most prurient thoughts.
  2. Arousing or appealing to sexual desire.
    • 1825, The Literary Chronicle for the Year 1825[4], London, page 156:
      [] nor is it more prurient or lascivious than many productions to be found in a circulating library.
    • 2008, Marcel Danesi, Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives[5], page 204:
      But in contemporary consumerist societies, when the kids are safely in bed, television programs allow viewers to indulge their more prurient interests.
  3. Curious, especially inappropriately so.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], “(please specify the page)”, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 303–304:
      Had she known that prurient anecdotes, breaches of confidence, scandalous facts, and cruel observations, were intended to constitute the matter and to enhance the price, her very heart would have broken under the affliction such a disgraceful proceeding exhibited,...
    • 2005, Donald Gilbert-Santamaría, Writers on the Market: Consuming Literature in Early Seventeenth-century Spain[6], page 130:
      Much of my discussion in the previous two chapters has focused on the dichotomy in Alemán's novel between the author's stated interest in moral didacticism and the more prurient appeal of the novel's representations of material privation and violent spectacle.


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  1. third-person plural future active indicative of prūriō