cor·rup·tion | \kə-ˈrəp-shən \

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

Sharif, who was found guilty of corruption this month, arrived in Lahore on Friday evening after he and his daughter Maryam Nawaz — who was sentenced to seven years in the same case — boarded a plane from London. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, "As former Pakistan leader returns to begin jail sentence, deadly bombing adds to ‘atmosphere of fear’," 13 July 2018 The police meanwhile said about 100 were detained ‘‘to avoid violence.’’ Sharif, ousted by the Supreme Court for corruption last July, was convicted last week and sentenced to 10 years over purchases of luxury apartments in London. Zaheer Babar,, "Pakistan ex-PM’s party: Police arresting Sharif’s supporters," 12 July 2018 The new leadership also faces the daunting task of addressing decades of ingrained corruption, inefficiency and poorly maintained infrastructure. Fortune, "Puerto Rico's Bankrupt Utility Has No Leader After Pay Scandal," 12 July 2018 There will be losses in all of these nations, as well as our own, corruption, misbehavior, pressure on the courts and media. James Stavridis, Time, "Democracy Isn't Perfect, But It Will Still Prevail," 12 July 2018 Ganim has raised $800,000 for his bid, but is barred from public campaign financing because of his felony conviction and imprisonment for public corruption during his first mayoral stint. Neil Vigdor,, "Ned Lamont And Joe Ganim On A Collision Course Toward First Head-To-Head Debate," 11 July 2018 Blomkamp’s previous films, all set in South Africa, have dealt with class divisions, xenophobia, and pharma corruption, using Apartheid as an entry point for most of these issues. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why 'Robocop' and Neill Blomkamp Need Each Other," 11 July 2018 Quanell built a name for himself as an outspoken advocate for victims of police brutality and corruption, helping criminals turn themselves in and garnering media coverage in high-profile cases. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Quanell X sued by family alleging he passed himself off as a lawyer," 11 July 2018 Pakistani politics have been in disarray since last year, when then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was forced out of office for corruption. Abdul Salam, USA TODAY, "A cricket star is the front-runner to become Pakistan's next prime minister," 9 July 2018

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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Statistics for corruption

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for corruption

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

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More Definitions for corruption



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 \

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

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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