corruption

noun cor·rup·tion \ kə-ˈrəp-shən \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of corruption

1 a : 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

Examples of corruption in a Sentence

  1. There are rumors of widespread corruption in the city government.

  2. the mafia's corruption of public officials

  3. corruption of the English language

  4. computer software that is supposed to prevent the corruption of files

  5. the corruption of a text

Recent Examples of corruption from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of corruption


CORRUPTION Defined for English Language Learners

corruption

noun

Definition of corruption for English Language Learners

  • : 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


CORRUPTION Defined for Kids

corruption

noun cor·rup·tion \ kə-ˈrəp-shən \

Definition of corruption for Students

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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

sticky or viscid

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!