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

As an outsider, Weah campaigned to tackle corruption, and improving the provision of crucial services like education, health, and infrastructure. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Liberia has blocked social media as protesters demand the return of missing millions," 7 June 2019 New York Republican Senator Al D’Amato, who was obsessed with Clinton corruption, lost his bid for a third term to an ambitious Democratic congressman named Chuck Schumer. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "1998 Was a Seinfeld Election—Not an Impeachment Referendum," 6 June 2019 In 2017, Beauplan’s anti-corruption commission issued its own 656-page report on the misuse of PetroCaribe funds. miamiherald, "Haiti president accused of embezzlement scheme in government audit of Venezuela aid money," 4 June 2019 Like much of Latin America, it has been plagued by bad government, corruption, ineffective institutions, poverty, and dysfunction. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Invest in the Neighborhood," 4 June 2019 His description of a political party hollowed out by corruption, sanctimony and faux patriotism, determined to impoverish the working class in order to enrich its rich patrons, was as prescient a description of today’s GOP as a soothsayer’s. Michael Hiltzik,, "In Britain, will Trump absorb his hero Winston Churchill’s hatred of tariffs?," 3 June 2019 Raed Odeh, the owner of Palestine, the barbershop, noted his frustration with crime and drugs, as well as the sense of trust in civic leaders that had been bruised by corruption and scandal that adds to the pressure Mr. Sayegh faces in his new role. New York Times, "A City Founded by Alexander Hamilton Sets the Stage for Its Next Act," 5 July 2018 The original series about Mexico elites riddled by corruption, scandal and violence will star Mexican actors Irene Azuela and Juan Manuel Bernal. Anita Bennett, Fortune, "Netflix Crushes Cable and Broadcast TV for Home Viewing, Survey Finds," 3 July 2018 He was elected president over Juan Luis Larrea, the federation's former treasurer and its interim leader since Villar was suspended following his arrest last year on suspicion of corruption. Tales Azzoni, Houston Chronicle, "Spain replaces fired coach ahead of World Cup start," 13 June 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

17 Jun 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).


behavior toward others

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