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

The alleged corruption is a labyrinthine scheme that involves the Tallahassee community development agency and some people close to Gillum. Dylan Scott, Vox, "How racist robocalls and an FBI inquiry are shaking up the Florida governor’s race," 7 Nov. 2018 The show tackles a lot of issues that are in the headlines these days: terrorism, surveillance, corruption. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Hit U.K. Show Bodyguard Is Now on Netflix," 26 Oct. 2018 The justice system remains under special monitoring by the European Union since corruption has been a long-running issue in the country. Alison Mutler, The Seattle Times, "Romanian govt move against prosecutors draws criticism," 15 Oct. 2018 The novel follows lunar native Jazz Bashara on a caper that involves blowing up drones, high-level corruption, and other fun off-planet activities. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "'Artemis' by Andy Weir Is Getting the Movie Treatment," 17 July 2018 At stake is not just the outcome of this investigation, but the survival of what is viewed as the most powerful brake on official misconduct in Honduras, where corruption is deeply entrenched. Jeff Ernst,, "In corruption battle in Honduras, elites hit back," 1 July 2018 Over the last several years, an investigation of AEPI -- complete with a 2017 police raid of its office -- revealed extensive, systemic corruption. Robert Levine, Billboard, "As Greek Royalty Collector Fails, Rights Holders Weigh Whether Government Can Find Their Money," 28 June 2018 Joe Ganim, who is not eligible for public campaign aid because of his imprisonment for public corruption, faces a particularly difficult challenge. Neil Vigdor,, "Candidates Face Tough Questions About Financial Viability In Governor's Race," 19 June 2018 Others include former President Joseph Estrada, who was given a life sentence for corruption in 2007 but pardoned by a successor a month after his conviction. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Imelda Marcos’s Graft Conviction Deals Blow to Philippine Dynasty’s Newfound Popularity," 9 Nov. 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

2 Dec 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

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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