Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of pornography

Related terms

Definition of pornography


    From Ancient Greek πορνογράφος (pornographos), from πόρν- (porn", “prostitute”) + γράφω (graphō, “I write”).


  • (UK) IPA: /p"ː(ɹ)ˈn'ɡ.ɹə.fi/, SAMPA: /pO:(r\)"nQg.r\.fi/
  • Audio (US) [?]


pornography (usually uncountable; plural pornographies)

  1. The explicit depiction of sexual subject matter, especially with the sole intention of sexually exciting the viewer. [from the mid-19th c.]

    "What is pornography to one man, is the laughter of genius to another." by D.H. Lawrence as cited on page 10's "Confining the Pornography Dragon" by The Cambridge Law Journal in issue 1980.

Further reading

Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.

Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, or video game. However, when sexual acts are performed for a live audience, by definition it is not pornography, as the term applies to the depiction of the act, rather than the act itself. Thus, portrayals such as sex shows and striptease are not classified as pornography.

A pornographic model poses for pornographic photographs. A pornographic actor or porn star performs in pornographic films. In cases where limited dramatic skills are involved, a performer in pornographic films may be called a pornographic model.

A distinction is often made between erotica (the portrayal of sexuality with high-art aspirations, focusing also on feelings and emotions) and pornography (the depiction of acts in a sensational manner, with the entire focus on the physical act, so as to arouse quick intense reactions).

Pornography has often been subject to censorship and legal restraints on publication on grounds of obscenity. Such grounds and the very definition of what is or is not pornography have differed in different historical, cultural, and national contexts.

With the emergence of social attitudes more tolerant of sexuality and with more explicit definitions of obscenity in law, an industry for the production and consumption of pornography arose in the latter half of the 20th century. The introduction of home video and the Internet saw booms in a porn industry that today generates billions of dollars a year worldwide.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Translation of pornography in Malay


depiction of sexual subject matter with prurient intent

  1. pornografi


1.     lex fori
2.     landed property
3.     lex situs
4.     respondent
5.     default judgment
6.     tort law
7.     living will
8.     lex causae
9.     law
10.     salacious