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 The Best of the Rest In theaters, Dark Waters tells an important, horrifying true story of how corporate corruption at the DuPont chemical company led to a decades-long pollution scheme in West Virginia. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch (and Skip) in Theaters and on Streaming Platforms This Weekend," 22 Nov. 2019 Congress also passed a series of measures to increase government accountability and reduce corruption, including federal campaign-finance laws and the Freedom of Information Act. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Donald Trump and the Absolute Power Presidency," 18 Nov. 2019 His police-corruption drama, Cop Land (1997); the teen memoir, Girl, Interrupted (1999); and his Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line (2005), all feature characters brimming with bravado and self-doubt, trying to carve out lives in a hostile world. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Ford v Ferrari Tells a Different Kind of Underdog Story," 16 Nov. 2019 This Week in the CLE:’s weekly news round-up podcast has a short and early Thanksgiving edition, as reporters and editors talk about the plastic bag ban, county corruption investigations and Hallmark holiday movies. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County releases first details about how health and human services tax increase would be used: The Wake Up for Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019," 27 Nov. 2019 And there was ample reason to suspect that many of these people were involved in criminal activity or corruption of some sort. Andrea Bernstein, ProPublica, "“Spreading Corruption Is a Russian Government Foreign Policy”," 27 Nov. 2019 Giuliani has cast his efforts to dig up damaging information about Democrats in Ukraine as both a strategy to assist his client, Trump, but also motivated by a lifelong commitment to fighting corruption. Anchorage Daily News, "A wealthy Venezuelan hosted Giuliani as he pursued Ukraine campaign. Then Giuliani lobbied the Justice Department on his behalf.," 26 Nov. 2019 One of the theories is that the attacks happened a day after armed law enforcement officers allegedly raided Pemex's offices and seized computers, meaning that the attacks could be an attempt to conceal corruption. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Reports of Pemex cyber attack has American companies taking precautions," 25 Nov. 2019 Our sheriff was impeached and removed for corruption. al, "Zeigler writes a book recapping I-10 toll battle; recalls his ‘Mayberry’," 24 Nov. 2019

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

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

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Statistics for corruption

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Corruption.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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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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