Ask Difference

Indecent vs. Salacious — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 4, 2023
"Indecent" refers to something offensive to good taste or morality; "Salacious" means having or conveying an undue interest in sexual matters. Both words carry a negative connotation, but salacious has a stronger emphasis on lewdness.
Indecent vs. Salacious — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Indecent and Salacious


Key Differences

Indecent" and "Salacious" are terms often used to describe content or behavior deemed inappropriate, offensive, or overtly sexual. "Indecent" typically refers to content or conduct that is against societal norms and standards of propriety, often invoking a sense of disgust or offense. It can include anything from inappropriate dress to crude language. On the other hand, "Salacious" generally denotes an excessive or obscene interest in sexual matters, portraying lewdness and lasciviousness, focusing specifically on inappropriate or excessive sexual content or behavior.
When discussing something "Indecent," the connotation is usually of an offensive or morally objectionable nature, not adhering to societal norms of decency and morality. It conveys a broader range of improper conduct or expression, be it in language, attire, or behavior. "Salacious," however, has a more narrow focus, being explicitly associated with an undue or excessive interest in sexual matters, often describing content, expressions, or behaviors that are lewd or lascivious in nature.
"Indecent" covers a spectrum of behaviors and expressions that are considered inappropriate, offensive, or vulgar by societal standards. It is not limited to sexual content but includes any form of expression or conduct that violates norms of decency and propriety. Conversely, "Salacious" is predominantly associated with obscene sexual content or expression, emphasizing lewdness, lustfulness, and the explicit portrayal of sexual matters.
In essence, while "Indecent" serves as a broader term describing any form of improper, offensive, or immoral content or behavior, "Salacious" specifically refers to that which is obscene, lewd, or overly focused on sexual matters. Both terms portray a deviation from societal norms of propriety and decency, but "Salacious" does so with a stronger emphasis on sexual impropriety.

Comparison Chart


Offensive to good taste or morality.
Having or conveying an undue or obscene interest in sexual matters.


Impropriety, offensiveness, vulgarity.
Lewdness, lasciviousness, obscenity.


Pertains to a wide range of improper conduct or expression.
Predominantly related to inappropriate or excessive sexual content or expression.


Broader, includes any form of impropriety or offensiveness.
Narrower, primarily denotes lewd or lascivious content or behavior.


Typically less severe, general impropriety.
More severe, emphasizing explicit and lewd sexual impropriety.

Compare with Definitions


Indecent can also imply a vulgar or obscene nature.
The movie was rated for its indecent language.


Salacious implies lewdness or lasciviousness.
The salacious remarks were deemed inappropriate for the workplace.


Indecent means being offensive to accepted standards of decency.
The comedian's indecent jokes made the audience uncomfortable.


Salacious means having or conveying an excessive interest in sexual matters.
The novel was banned for its salacious content.


Indecent implies a lack of modesty or propriety.
The magazine was banned due to indecent images.


Salacious often implies an undue focus on sexual matters.
The scandal was fueled by salacious rumors and speculations.


Offensive to accepted standards of decency or modesty; lewd or vulgar
Found the movie to be indecent.


Salacious can refer to a prurient interest or excessive lustfulness.
The gossip magazine is filled with salacious stories about celebrities.


Not appropriate or becoming; unseemly
Bought up distressed properties with indecent enthusiasm.


Salacious denotes being obscene or vulgar, especially in a sexual sense.
The media criticized the artist for the salacious imagery in his music video.


To good taste.


Appealing to or stimulating sexual desire
Salacious reading material.


Not in keeping with conventional moral values; improper, immodest, or unseemly.


Characterized by or indicating sexual desire; lustful
A salacious wink.


(criminal law) Generally unacceptable for public broadcasting but not legally obscene.


Promoting sexual desire or lust.


Not decent; unfit to be seen or heard; offensive to modesty and delicacy; as, indecent language.


Lascivious, bawdy, obscene, lewd.


Not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper in polite society;
Was buried with indecent haste
Indecorous behavior
Language unbecoming to a lady
Unseemly to use profanity
Moved to curb their untoward ribaldry


Having a propensity to venery; lustful; lecherous.


Offensive to good taste especially in sexual matters;
An earthy but not indecent story
An indecent gesture


Characterized by lust;
Eluding the lubricious embraces of her employer
Her sensuous grace roused his lustful nature
Prurient literature
Prurient thoughts
A salacious rooster of a little man


Offending against sexual mores in conduct or appearance;
A bathing suit considered indecent by local standards


Suggestive of or tending to moral looseness;
Lewd whisperings of a dirty old man
An indecent gesture
Obscene telephone calls
Salacious limericks


Indecent can refer to something improper or morally offensive.
The painting was criticized for its indecent content.


Indecent denotes being offensive to good taste or morality.
The indecent proposal was met with outright rejection.

Common Curiosities

What is the meaning of salacious?

Salacious denotes having or conveying an excessive or obscene interest in sexual matters, implying lewdness, lasciviousness, and prurience.

Is salacious only related to sexual content?

Predominantly, yes. Salacious primarily denotes content or expression that is obscene or lewd, with a strong focus on sexual matters.

Can indecent be subjective?

Yes, what is considered indecent can vary widely among individuals, cultures, and societies, based on differing norms and values.

Can salacious refer to an undue interest in sexual matters?

Absolutely, salacious implies an excessive, undue, or prurient interest in sexual matters, often portrayed as obscene or lewd.

Can indecent refer to language?

Yes, indecent can describe language that is offensive, vulgar, or obscene, violating accepted norms of propriety.

Does salacious imply a more severe degree of impropriety than indecent?

Typically, yes. Salacious usually denotes a more explicit and obscene portrayal or interest in sexual matters compared to indecent.

Is indecent always associated with morality?

Generally, yes. Indecent typically implies a violation of accepted moral norms, be it in conduct, expression, or content.

Can salacious describe behavior?

Yes, behavior that demonstrates an undue or obscene interest in sexual matters can be described as salacious.

What does indecent mean?

Indecent refers to something that is offensive to accepted standards of decency or morality, implying impropriety, vulgarity, or obscenity.

Can indecent describe attire?

Yes, attire that is deemed offensive or not conforming to societal norms of decency can be described as indecent.

Can something be indecent without being illegal?

Yes, many things can be considered indecent based on societal or individual norms without necessarily being illegal.

Is salacious always used in a negative context?

Predominantly, yes. Salacious usually carries a negative connotation, denoting obscene, lewd, or lascivious content or behavior.

Does indecent have legal implications?

It can. Laws in many jurisdictions define and penalize indecent conduct, expression, or exposure, based on societal norms of decency and morality.

Can indecent imply offensiveness?

Yes, indecent often implies something that is offensive to accepted standards of decency, whether in conduct, expression, or content.

Does salacious have a literary use?

Yes, in literature, salacious can describe content or expression that is overtly sexual, lewd, or obscene.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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