Bawdy describes humor that is vulgar or off-color. Things that are bawdy are a little inappropriate, intended to be funny, and definitely not the kind of things you want to say in school.

Bawdy jokes are inappropriate, but they're not totally explicit or graphic — a movie with a little bit of bawdy humor might be rated PG-13, rather than R. Still, you probably don't want to recite bawdy poems in front of your fussy Aunt Irma, your clergyperson, or your math teacher. The exact etymology of this word is uncertain, but it is formed from the Middle English noun bawd, meaning "a lewd or licentious person."

Definitions of bawdy

adj humorously vulgar

bawdy songs”
off-color, ribald
(of behavior or especially language) characterized by obscenity or indecency

n lewd or obscene talk or writing

“they published a collection of Elizabethan bawdy
Type of:
dirty word, filth, obscenity, smut, vulgarism
an offensive or indecent word or phrase

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