de·​prav·​i·​ty | \ di-ˈpra-və-tē How to pronounce depravity (audio) also -ˈprā-\
plural depravities

Definition of depravity

1 : a corrupt act or practice the depravities of war
2 : the quality or state of being corrupt, evil, or perverted : the quality or state of being depraved He is awed by its fabulous wealth but deeply troubled by what he sees as its moral depravity— Nicholas D. Kristof

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Examples of depravity in a Sentence

He was sinking into a life of utter depravity. People were shocked by the depravity of her actions.

Recent Examples on the Web

With piercing language and extraordinary storytelling, Morrison forced readers to confront the depravity and terrorism of American slavery, shattering the English-language canon in the process. Bilal Qureshi, Washington Post, "Toni Morrison has kept the public at arm’s length. Now she’s letting people in on her terms.," 1 July 2019 The signal story of the past decade—of the financial crisis, of Donald Trump, of the #MeToo movement—is about how wealth, power, and depravity have been concentrated in the hands of a very few. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "Elizabeth Warren Sells Populism to Professionals," 16 Aug. 2019 Somebody who could have done this to her and then live the high life is just a testament to his coldness and depravity. CBS News, "Peter Chadwick caught: Fugitive murder suspect goes from real estate millionaire to bussing tables during years on the run," 10 Aug. 2019 But from the outside, among those who didn’t understand them, the early 2000s represented a definitive shift toward moral depravity. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Video-Game Violence Is Now a Partisan Issue," 5 Aug. 2019 The latest kidnapping victim (Ekaterina Samsonov) is the daughter of a powerful politician (Alex Mannette), and soon enough Joe confronts a welter of conspiracies and depravities. Michael Phillips,, "'You Were Never Really Here' review: Joaquin Phoenix out-hammers Mike Hammer by several hammers," 12 Apr. 2018 Perrier’s film avoids the usual trappings of sinister depravity or facile judgment. Michael Phillips,, "Black Harvest Film Festival sets a course for the next 25 years," 1 Aug. 2019 Few readers will pick up a book on the Borgias hoping for details of city administration, however—and Mr Strathern does not stint on the depravity. The Economist, "The most scandalous popes in history," 29 June 2019 But the full breadth of Jeffs’ criminal depravity wouldn’t be known until years later, when his own children started coming forward with allegations of abuse. Chris Harris,, "How Warren Jeffs' Son Exposed Polygamist Cult Leader's Sex Abuse of His Other Children," 4 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'depravity.' 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 depravity

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for depravity

see deprave

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Statistics for depravity

Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for depravity

The first known use of depravity was in 1641

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More Definitions for depravity



English Language Learners Definition of depravity

: a very evil quality or way of behaving
: an evil or immoral act


de·​prav·​i·​ty | \ di-ˈpra-və-tē How to pronounce depravity (audio) \
plural depravities

Legal Definition of depravity

1 : the quality or state of being depraved
2 : a corrupt act or practice

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Comments on depravity

What made you want to look up depravity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread over or through

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