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

In recent months, the 53-year-old commander has launched an anti-corruption unit and introduced plans for random integrity and polygraph testing. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Baltimore police commissioner admits he failed to file taxes in wake of federal charges," 2 Oct. 2018 But Mr López Obrador has shown little interest in such vital reforms as ensuring that both the attorney-general and the anti-corruption prosecutor are free from political influence. The Economist, "Will AMLO deliver?," 5 July 2018 The sentencing Tuesday of Mr. Lu brings to a close a high-profile corruption case that has been intently watched in part because Mr. Lu was closely associated with China’s strict policing of the internet. Eva Dou, WSJ, "China’s Former Top Internet Regulator Gets 14 Years for Corruption," 26 Mar. 2019 Rodriguez: The history of corruption goes back to kings and queens. Yolanda Machado, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Cast of Widows Knows How to Fix Our Broken World," 19 Nov. 2018 Duarte was one of a string of other governors from the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party who were charged in corruption cases. Fox News, "Mexico ex-governor pleads guilty to corruption, gets 9 years," 27 Sep. 2018 The trial of Sharif and his 44-year-old daughter was an outgrowth of the original corruption case related to the financing of apartments in London and other overseas properties owned by members of the family, one of Pakistan’s political dynasties. Washington Post,, "Pakistan court convicts former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in corruption case," 6 July 2018 Another potential challenger, Karim Wade, the former president’s son, was arrested in 2013 and found guilty of corruption two years later. The Economist, "Senegal’s democracy is being tested by its president," 28 June 2018 Roh leaped to his death the following year after being investigated for corruption. Kim Tong-hyung, Fox News, "Unfinished business: Moon's summit dreams echo late mentor," 18 Sep. 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

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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


having no equal

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