corrupt

verb
cor·​rupt | \ kə-ˈrəpt How to pronounce corrupt (audio) \
corrupted; corrupting; corrupts

Definition of corrupt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions Officials were corrupted by greed. was accused of corrupting the youth also : bribe
b : to degrade with unsound principles or moral values Some fear the merger will corrupt the competive marketplace.
2 : rot, spoil The fruits were transported without being corrupted.
3 : to subject (a person) to corruption of blood
4 : to alter from the original or correct form or version The file was corrupted.

intransitive verb

1a : to become tainted or rotten leaving the bodies to corrupt on the field
b : to become morally debased
2 : to cause disintegration or ruin

corrupt

adjective

Definition of corrupt (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : morally degenerate and perverted : depraved
b : characterized by improper conduct (such as bribery or the selling of favors) corrupt judges
3 : adulterated or debased by change from an original or correct condition a corrupt version of the text

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from corrupt

Verb

corrupter or less commonly corruptor \ kə-​ˈrəp-​tər How to pronounce corruptor (audio) \ noun
corruptibility \ kə-​ˌrəp-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce corruptibility (audio) \ noun
corruptible \ kə-​ˈrəp-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce corruptible (audio) \ adjective
corruptibly \ kə-​ˈrəp-​tə-​blē How to pronounce corruptibly (audio) \ adverb

Adjective

corruptly \ kə-​ˈrəp(t)-​lē How to pronounce corruptly (audio) \ adverb
corruptness \ kə-​ˈrəp(t)-​nəs How to pronounce corruptness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for corrupt

Verb

debase, vitiate, deprave, corrupt, debauch, pervert mean to cause deterioration or lowering in quality or character. debase implies a loss of position, worth, value, or dignity. commercialism has debased the holiday vitiate implies a destruction of purity, validity, or effectiveness by allowing entrance of a fault or defect. a foreign policy vitiated by partisanship deprave implies moral deterioration by evil thoughts or influences. the claim that society is depraved by pornography corrupt implies loss of soundness, purity, or integrity. the belief that bureaucratese corrupts the language debauch implies a debasing through sensual indulgence. the long stay on a tropical isle had debauched the ship's crew pervert implies a twisting or distorting from what is natural or normal. perverted the original goals of the institute

Adjective

vicious, villainous, iniquitous, nefarious, corrupt, degenerate mean highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct. vicious may directly oppose virtuous in implying moral depravity, or may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence. a vicious gangster villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic. a villainous assault iniquitous implies absence of all signs of justice or fairness. an iniquitous system of taxation nefarious suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct. the nefarious rackets of organized crime corrupt stresses a loss of moral integrity or probity causing betrayal of principle or sworn obligations. city hall was rife with corrupt politicians degenerate suggests having sunk to an especially vicious or enervated condition. a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers

Examples of corrupt in a Sentence

Verb

a politician corrupted by greed music that corrupts the morals of children corrupting the country's legal system the corrupting influence of power Their idealism has been corrupted by cynicism. The file has been corrupted and no longer works properly. a corrupted version of the ancient text

Adjective

The country's justice system is riddled with corrupt judges who accept bribes. corrupt cops who sell drugs the country's corrupt legal system a corrupt version of the text a corrupt computer file that no longer works properly
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The evidence-free accusation that illegitimate moneyed or foreign interests are corrupting her opponents and dictating U.S. policy is her modus operandi. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, "Omar and the Conspiracy Democrats," 10 Mar. 2019 Apparently, the Korvax collective is concerned that the scientist may have become corrupted by working with me. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "No Man’s Sky travel diary: responsibility," 8 Aug. 2018 Each side sought to project images of social and cultural superiority; stories of people corrupted by the decadent West or persecuted by the KGB were turned into weapons. The Economist, "The death of the archetypal Russian villain," 28 June 2018 Six years ago, Keltner and a then-graduate student in his lab, Paul Piff, published influential innovative experiments that confirmed many of our worst assumptions about the rich and the corrupting power of wealth. William Wan, The Seattle Times, "Are rich people more likely to lie, cheat, steal? Science explains the world of Manafort and Gates.," 13 Aug. 2018 After the arrests last fall, the NCAA set up a commission to study corrupting influences in college basketball. Rebecca Davis O’brien, WSJ, "Adidas Executive, Two Others Found Guilty in College-Basketball Corruption Trial," 24 Oct. 2018 Your Content is not technically harmful (including, without limitation, viruses, logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms, harmful components, corrupted data or other malicious software, harmful data or conduct). Harper's BAZAAR, "Reader Submission Terms and Community Guidelines," 13 Jan. 2015 Rather, the Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) will corrupt the FBI special agent, and will manipulate him into aiding him in his vendetta against Daredevil. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Bullseye joins Netflix’s Daredevil for season 3," 6 Oct. 2018 THE SWAMP Top Dem candidate who said money 'corrupts' politics donated $100G to Obama, asked for U.S. ambassadorship. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump wants White House official behind NY Times op-ed ID'd; DOJ targets conservative censorship," 6 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Kendall's comments come about three months after both Hulu and Netflix released incriminating documentaries revealing the corrupt and unorganized preparations behind Fyre Festival, which was spearheaded by entrepreneur Billy McFarland. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall Jenner Responds to Her Fyre Festival Involvement for the First Time," 3 Apr. 2019 The manipulation of a system that is put into place to ensure that students who have disabilities have their needs met, can cause folk on the outside to infer that the entire system is corrupt. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "The College Admissions Scandal Could Have Lasting Impacts for Disabled People," 13 Mar. 2019 Transparency International has ranked Somalia as the world’s most corrupt country for every one of the past 11 years. Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, "Group Behind Nairobi Attack Has Eluded Military," 19 Jan. 2019 In this fictional account, driving that change is assistant district attorney Decourcy Ward (Hodge), who comes from Brooklyn and forms an unlikely alliance with a corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran, Jackie Rhodes (Bacon). Ellen Gray, Philly.com, "Philly's Kevin Bacon to star in Showtime's Boston-set series 'City on a Hill'," 17 May 2018 Things did not work out as smoothly for the Western-aligned Congo, however: The country was taken over by Mobutu Sese Seko, who would change its name to Zaire and lead one of the most corrupt and ruthless dictatorships of the 20th century. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "That Time a CIA Spyplane Had to Dodge a Spear During the Cold War," 14 Jan. 2019 This has been corrupt from the beginning, before the election, after the election. Fox News, "Alan Dershowitz: Kavanaugh accuser must speak first," 21 Sep. 2018 One of the big concerns people have is that governments are either ineffective or corrupt and can’t deliver good services to their people. Meagan Neal, Vox, "It’s hard to design good policies. This simple idea can help governments do it.," 21 Dec. 2018 So far, since in my view, the economy of digital information is so corrupt and has such horrible incentives that prioritize manipulation above everything else. Eric Johnson, Recode, "If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem, Jaron Lanier says," 27 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'corrupt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of corrupt

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for corrupt

Verb

Middle English, from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpere, from com- + rumpere to break — more at reave

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin corruptus — see corrupt entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about corrupt

Statistics for corrupt

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for corrupt

The first known use of corrupt was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for corrupt

corrupt

verb

English Language Learners Definition of corrupt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (someone or something) to become dishonest, immoral, etc.
: to change (something) so that it is less pure or valuable
: to change (a book, computer file, etc.) from the correct or original form

corrupt

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of corrupt (Entry 2 of 2)

: doing things that are dishonest or illegal in order to make money or to gain or keep power
: done or controlled by dishonest and immoral people
: dishonest, evil, or immoral

corrupt

verb
cor·​rupt | \ kə-ˈrəpt How to pronounce corrupt (audio) \
corrupted; corrupting

Kids Definition of corrupt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to change (as in morals, manners, or actions) from good to bad He believes television can corrupt children.
2 : to influence a public official in an improper way (as by a bribe)

corrupt

adjective

Kids Definition of corrupt (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : behaving in a bad or improper way : doing wrong The corrupt judges will accept bribes.
2 : morally bad : evil corrupt values

corrupt

adjective
cor·​rupt | \ kə-ˈrəpt\

Legal Definition of corrupt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having an unlawful or evil motive especially : characterized by improper and usually unlawful conduct intended to secure a benefit for oneself or another (as by taking or giving bribes)

Other Words from corrupt

corruptly adjective
corruptness noun

corrupt

transitive verb

Legal Definition of corrupt (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to change from good to bad in principles or moral values corrupting a minor
2 : to subject (a person) to corruption of blood

Other Words from corrupt

corruptibility \ kə-​ˌrəp-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce corruptibility (audio) \ noun
corruptible \ kə-​ˈrəp-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce corruptible (audio) \ adjective
corruptibly adverb
corruption \ kə-​ˈrəp-​shən How to pronounce corruption (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on corrupt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with corrupt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for corrupt

Spanish Central: Translation of corrupt

Nglish: Translation of corrupt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of corrupt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on corrupt

What made you want to look up corrupt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

having no equal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!