That quality in words or things which presents what is offensive to chastity or purity of mind; obscene or impure lanquage or acts; moral impurity; lewdness; obsceneness; as, the obscenity of a speech, or a picture.
In the context of criminal law a term used to describe a publication which is illegal because it is morally corruptive. The common law has struggled with this word as society evolves towards greater tolerance of alternative sexual behavior. Historically, it included any lewd material which had no apparent social value, which was offensive to contemporary community standards of decency, and even material which tended to invoke impure sexual thoughts. All of these measurements are very subjective and the community standard of obscenity is frequently at odds with the right of free speech.
something that is indecent and offensive. Obscene material is usually of an explicit sexual nature. A current national debate concerns the proliferation of obscene material over the Internet, and whether it should be censored. Those who oppose censorship often cite free speech, although in 1957 the Supreme Court ruled that obscenity was not protected under the First Amendment. However, one of the problems is that a workable definition of obscenity is hard to come by. Is something obscene, as some argue, if it violates "community standards"? But this begs the question of which community one is talking about, since standards are not uniform throughout the country, nor, perhaps, are they so within different segments of the same community.
Works which, taken as a whole and applying contemporary community standards, appeal to the prurient interest in sex, portray sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
That which is legally deemed offensive to "accepted" standards of decency or morality.
an offensive or indecent word or phrase
see MILLER OBSCENITY TEST, which defines obscene speech.
Obscene programming is not protected by the First Amendment and may never be broadcast. To qualify as obscene, programming must meet a three-pronged test established by the U.S. Supreme Court: An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest. The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law. The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Average persons will determine content that is legally obscene by using contemporary community standards, evaluating the main theme of an entire work, and finding the material (a) to appeal to impure interests in sexuality, (b) to be patently offensive, and (c) to be without literary, artistic, scientific or political value, thereby classifying the work as obscene (Miller v. California, 1973). "Put to death ... whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).
According to current legal theory, sexually explicit material that lacks a serious purpose and appeals solely to the prurient interest of the viewer. While nudity per se is not usually considered obscene, open sexual behaviour, masturbation, and exhibition of the genitals is banned in most communities.
Visual and auditory materials designed to arouse feelings of lust, as specified by the Supreme Court in Miller v. California, 1973. Obscene materials are characterized by sharply focused and detailed representations of all degrees of sexual activity: men with women, men with men, women with women, adults with children, humans with animals, groups having homosexual and bisexual sex with each other. Activities include vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse.
An elusive concept used in the context of criminal law to describe a publication which is illegal because it is morally corruptive. The common law has struggled with this word as society has evolved towards greater tolerance of alternative sexual behavior. Historically, it included any lewd material which had no apparent social value, which was offensive to contemporary community standards of decency, and even material which tended to invoke impure sexual thoughts. As an example of a modern definition, Canada has defined obscene material as any publication a dominant characteristic of which is the undue exploitation of sex, or of sex and crime, horror, cruelty or violence.
Obscenity in Latin obscenus, meaning "foul, repulsive, detestable", (possibly derived from ob caenum, literally "from filth"). The term is most often used in a legal context to describe expressions (words, images, actions) that offend the prevalent sexual morality of the time.