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

Rampant poverty, entrenched political corruption, urban crime, and the effects of climate change have made large swaths of the country virtually uninhabitable. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "Trump Poised to Sign a Radical Agreement to Send Future Asylum Seekers to Guatemala," 12 July 2019 Warren is running a progressive campaign focused on corruption, drawing on her background as a Harvard University professor and bankruptcy law expert. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigns in Milwaukee as she introduces immigration plan, one of many proposals," 11 July 2019 And that was exactly what the video focused on, Steyer’s own biography and his commitment to using his wealth for good and to end corruption, especially at the hands of big corporations and big money interests. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Billionaire Tom Steyer Said He Wouldn't Run For President, Now He's The 24th Democratic Candidate," 9 July 2019 Local media has accused the party of running a murky real estate business, as well as corruption at the financial market regulatory authority, charges PiS denies. Madeline Roache, Time, "Poland Is Holding Massive Pride Parades. But How Far Have LGBTQ Rights Really Come?," 3 July 2019 Never mind that Putin presides over a regime rife with corruption, willing to murder opponents, and disdainful of moral values. Trudy Rubin, The Mercury News, "Rubin: How President Trump got trolled by Russian President Putin," 1 July 2019 The crisis at the border is very much driven by conditions in the Northern Triangle countries — poverty and crime, corruption, climate change. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The top 3 foreign policy moments of the first Democratic debate," 27 June 2019 But for decades, DR Congo has been dogged by corruption, misrule by its leaders and violent ethnic conflicts. Lekan Oguntoyinbo, Quartz Africa, "More African migrants are trying to enter the US through the Mexican border," 23 June 2019 Critics are also skeptical of the announcement that al-Bashir has been charged with corruption, with Al Jazeera reporting it’s being viewed as an attempt to deflect attention from the military’s violence. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "People Are Turning Social Media #BlueforSudan With Their Profile Pics," 17 June 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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Statistics for corruption

Last Updated

15 Jul 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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