quality of being common, coarse, or unrefined

Vulgarity is the quality of being common, coarse, or unrefined.


  • By vulgar arts I mean those pursued only for reputation.
  • Any occupation, art, or science, which makes the body or soul or mind of the freeman less fit for the practice or exercise of virtue, is vulgar; wherefore we call those arts vulgar which tend to deform the body, and likewise all paid employments, for they absorb and degrade the mind.
  • A gentleman considers what is right; the vulgar consider what will pay.
  • Vulgaridad es no estar contento ninguno con su suerte, aun la mayor, ni descontento de su ingenio, aunque el peor.
    • The vulgar are never really happy with their luck, even when it is best, or unhappy with their intellect, even when it is worst.
    • Baltasar Gracián, Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia, § 209 (Christopher Maurer trans.)
  • The talk about the poets seems to me like a commonplace entertainment to which a vulgar company have recourse; who, because they are not able to converse or amuse one another, while they are drinking, with the sound of their own voices and conversation, by reason of their stupidity, raise the price of flute-girls in the market, hiring for a great sum the voice of a flute instead of their own breath, to be the medium of intercourse among them: but where the company are real gentlemen and men of education, you will see no flute-girls, nor dancing-girls, nor harp-girls; and they have no nonsense or games, but are contented with one another’s conversation, of which their own voices are the medium, and which they carry on by turns and in an orderly manner.
    • Plato, Protagoras 347c, Benjamin Jowett, trans.

See also

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