cor·​rup·​tion | \ kə-ˈrəp-shən How to pronounce corruption (audio) \

Definition of corruption

1a : dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers) : depravity
b : inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (such as bribery) the corruption of government officials
c : a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct the corruption of a text the corruption of computer files
d : decay, decomposition the corruption of a carcass
2 chiefly dialectal : pus
3 archaic : an agency or influence that corrupts

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Examples of corruption in a Sentence

There are rumors of widespread corruption in the city government. the mafia's corruption of public officials corruption of the English language computer software that is supposed to prevent the corruption of files the corruption of a text
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Recent Examples on the Web His unprecedented trial on corruption charges, which began in May, is expected to enter a more sensational phase in February. Noga Tarnopolsky, Los Angeles Times, "As Israel faces 4th election in 2 years, Netanyahu is in the hot seat again," 28 Dec. 2020 In the waning weeks of his presidency, Trump also issued pardons and commutations to former members of Congress convicted of corruption charges and two people charged in the Russia probe, George Papadopoulos and Alexander Van Der Zwaan. Talia Kaplan, Fox News, "Texas woman on President Trump commuting her remaining term of supervised release from prison," 28 Dec. 2020 The three arrests account for one-third of the Cincinnati City Council indicted on corruption charges this year. cleveland, "The top newsmakers in Ohio politics for 2020: Analysis," 27 Dec. 2020 Gantz accused Netanyahu of manipulating government functions, particularly judicial appointments, to protect himself from prosecution on multiple corruption charges being tried in a Jerusalem court. Washington Post, "Israeli government on the verge of collapse after lawmakers fail to reach budget compromise," 22 Dec. 2020 In Crestwood, Mayor Lou Presta, who has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges related to a probe of red-light cameras, is seeking a third term. Mike Nolan,, "Southland races for spring election start to take shape," 21 Dec. 2020 Karimova is now sanctioned by the United States and imprisoned in Uzbekistan on corruption charges. Ian J. Lynch, The New Republic, "Why Can’t the SEC Just Agree That Bribing Foreign Governments Is Bad?," 16 Dec. 2020 Siegelman, who was battling a scandal in 2006, lost in that year’s Democratic primary and was convicted, three weeks later, on federal corruption charges. al, "‘Stop the Steal’: Election fraud claims revive memories of Alabama’s 2002 governor’s race," 13 Dec. 2020 The city attorney’s investigation was prompted by federal corruption charges against Public Works chief Mohammed Nuru which have since ensnared five top city officials, among others including Wong. Heather Knight,, "S.F.’s building department is a mess. It's no wonder pay-to-play rules the day," 12 Dec. 2020

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

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First Known Use of corruption

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

History and Etymology for corruption

see corrupt entry 1

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Time Traveler for corruption

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for corruption

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Corruption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for corruption


How to pronounce corruption (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of corruption

: dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers)
: the act of corrupting someone or something
: something that has been changed from its original form


cor·​rup·​tion | \ kə-ˈrəp-shən How to pronounce corruption (audio) \

Kids Definition of corruption

1 : dishonest or illegal behavior corruption in politics
2 : the process of causing someone else to do something wrong … the little scene that I had overheard was the last act in the corruption of one of the honest hands …— Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
3 : the act of changing or damaging something the corruption of an ancient text the corruption of a computer file

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Comments on corruption

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