de·​prave di-ˈprāv How to pronounce deprave (audio)
depraved; depraving

transitive verb

archaic : to speak ill of : malign
: to make bad : corrupt
especially : to corrupt morally
ˌde-prə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce deprave (audio)
depravement noun
depraver noun
Choose the Right Synonym for deprave

debase, vitiate, deprave, corrupt, debauch, pervert mean to cause deterioration or lowering in quality or character.

debase implies a loss of position, worth, value, or dignity.

commercialism has debased the holiday

vitiate implies a destruction of purity, validity, or effectiveness by allowing entrance of a fault or defect.

a foreign policy vitiated by partisanship

deprave implies moral deterioration by evil thoughts or influences.

the claim that society is depraved by pornography

corrupt implies loss of soundness, purity, or integrity.

the belief that bureaucratese corrupts the language

debauch implies a debasing through sensual indulgence.

the long stay on a tropical isle had debauched the ship's crew

pervert implies a twisting or distorting from what is natural or normal.

perverted the original goals of the institute

Examples of deprave in a Sentence

the belief that pornography depraves society as a whole
Recent Examples on the Web All writings, unpalatable for one section of the society, cannot be labeled as obscene, vulgar, depraving, prurient and immoral. . . . Amitava Kumar, The New Yorker, 12 Dec. 2019 This is especially true when the news operation is clearly on the side of righteousness against a policy as depraved this. David Zurawik,, 15 June 2018 This series follows the trails of their obsession, and takes a deep dive into the killers’ depraved psyches to reveal their darkest secrets as investigators close in to end the killer’s reign of terror. Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Apr. 2018 McDonagh complicates Mildred's story by showing how the lust for justice can grow depraved the longer it is denied — a favorite subject of dramatists going back to Aeschylus. Charles McNulty,, 1 Mar. 2018 Glorifying any murderer is sickening. Mocking is depraved. Ed O’Loughlin, New York Times, 7 Jan. 2018 As depraved a forum as Twitter can be at times, one of its redeeming characteristics is its users' penchant for outing liars in real time. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, 18 Feb. 2018 The collusion of Breitbart and Fox News, of the governor of Kentucky and of all three Republican Senate candidates in Alabama, is depraved. Yascha Mounk, Slate Magazine, 17 Aug. 2017 He was cursed with the possession of a power and authority which no man of narrow mind, bitter prejudices, and inordinate self-estimation can exercise without depraving himself as well as injuring the nation. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 30 June 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deprave.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French depraver, from Latin depravare to pervert, from de- + pravus crooked, bad

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deprave was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near deprave

Cite this Entry

“Deprave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​prave di-ˈprāv How to pronounce deprave (audio)
depraved; depraving
: to make evil : pervert

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