"vulgar, obscene, scurrilous," from Latin Fescenninus (versus), a rude form of dramatic or satiric verse, from Fescennia, city in Etruria, noted for such productions.
The Fescennine Songs were the origin of the Satire, the only important species of literature not derived from the Greeks, and altogether peculiar to Italy. These Fescennine Songs were rude dialogues, in which the country people assailed and ridiculed one another in extempore verses, and which were introduced as an amusement in various festivals. [William Smith, "A Smaller History of Rome," London, 1870]
updated on September 25, 2018