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Any writing, drawing, or marking that is deliberately, and usually illegally, placed on private or public property. Graffiti is popularly used for commentary by political activists and for territory marks by street gangs. Although the term 'graffiti' became commonly used in the 1960s, ancient examples of defacement have been found on Egyptian monuments, Pompeian walls, and Maya temples. More recent examples include hobos marking of freight trains in the 1930s and 'Kilroy was here' graffiti placed during World War II. Currently graffiti is usually made with spray paints (e.g., Rustoleum, Krylon, Red Devil), chalk, or permanent markers. Graffiti removal techniques include the use of solvents (e.g., acetone, toluene) and high pressure abrasives. Some anti-graffiti coatings are available that minimize paint penetration and adherence.

Synonyms and Related Terms

graffito (singular); grafitti (sp)

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Comment: "graffito." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service 1 June 2005 .