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Definition: vulgar, obscene, scurrilous

Pronunciation: FES-e-nin


The Latin fescenninus represents a rude form of dramatic or satiric poetry. This Latin word comes from Fescennia- a city in ancient Etruria known for such productions.

Why this word?

“The Fescennine Songs were the origin of the Satire, the only important species of literature not derived from the Greeks, and altogether peculiar to Italy. These Fescennine Songs were rude dialogues, in which the country people assailed and ridiculed one another in extempore verses, and which were introduced as an amusement in various festivals” wrote William Smith, in his 1870’s account of “A Smaller History of Rome,” (London).

I absolutely loved words the etymology to which is rooter directly in history, and fescennine is just that- a word we now have for the rude behavior of ancient Italians!

How to use the word fescennine in a sentence?

Fescennine is an adjective describing improper behavior of quite a few sorts…

“His fescennine behavior already cost him his job once!”

“Her speech is simply fescennine- how can you seriously consider a relationship with her?”

“This is the most fescennine thing I have ever laid my eyes on” said she upon witnessing his attempts at erotic poetry.


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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