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 Weeks later, Guatemalan and U.N. investigators accused him of presiding over a vast corruption racket that had received $3.7 million in bribes in a single year. Francisco Goldman, The New Yorker, "Biden Can Revive Latin America’s Most Successful Anti-Corruption Project," 4 Mar. 2021 Salman has made newsworthy changes in the conservative Arab kingdom, allowing women to drive, combating corruption and curtailing some powers of the religious police. Jeffrey Fields, The Conversation, "Why repressive Saudi Arabia remains a US ally," 3 Mar. 2021 The tough economic climate in Brazil, combined with urban violence and political corruption, have been driving factors for Brazilians seeking an improved quality of life in Israel. Marcus M. Gilban,, "South American immigrants arrive in Israel after 40 days in limbo," 3 Mar. 2021 Now, without question, backup is always recommended for preserving data in the case of disasters, data corruption or accidental deletions. Yuen Pin Yeap, Forbes, "Backup Is Feeble Protection Against Ransomware," 3 Mar. 2021 Courtney Astolfi reports the policy change would not have applied in the case of Rourke, who was placed on unpaid leave for 19 months after being named in subpoenas served on the administration by corruption investigators, then fired. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "2021 Rock Hall induction to be the biggest Cleveland’s ever seen: The Wake Up for Wednesday, March 3, 2021.," 3 Mar. 2021 Many of Iraq’s problems boil down to poor governance and corruption, researchers say, issues that will to a large extent be swept under the rug as the country welcomes the pope. Washington Post, "Vaccinated Pope Francis heads to Iraq amid covid outbreak," 3 Mar. 2021 Two charter amendments for the city of Cincinnati were certified for the May ballot, both attempting to address the recent corruption scandals on city council. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, "Six candidates and two maybes: Board of Elections certifies Cincinnati mayoral candidates," 2 Mar. 2021 In 2013, Rice was appointed by Cuomo as one of the three-co-chairs of the Moreland Commission to look into public corruption. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, "Gov. Cuomo faces calls to resign from lawmakers after 3rd woman comes forward," 2 Mar. 2021

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

7 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Corruption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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