de·prav·i·ty | \ di-ˈpra-və-tē 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

Nina’s tender romance with a rock drummer cuts against the parade of depravity. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Snakes, Landslides & Adventures in Real Estate," 22 June 2018 Proof of that depravity was Attorney General Jeff Sessions citing a passage in the Bible once used in the 19th Century to defend slavery to support the administration’s actions. David Zurawik,, "MSNBC brings moral authority to cruel Trump immigration actions," 15 June 2018 This was hardly evident to the Puritans, who believed that tolerance would lead to depravity and sin. Roger Lowenstein, WSJ, "‘God, War, and Providence’ Review: When Conquest Was Puritanical," 13 June 2018 From that cesspool of decadence and depravity at Churchill Downs the genre of Gonzo journalism was born and the fastest two minutes in sports started a friendship that lasted a lifetime between the writer and the artist. The Courier-Journal, "Ralph Steadman Recalls 1970 Derby Adventure," 3 May 2018 What looks like depravity to Maeve is Dolores’s sense of purpose. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 7: Decoding Da Vinci," 4 June 2018 The real point of Tay however, was to learn from humans through direct conversation, most notably direct conversation using humanity's current leading showcase of depravity: Twitter. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Most Dangerous Thing About AI Is That It Has to Learn From Us," 24 Mar. 2016 The crimes gained international attention not only because of the number and their unsolved nature but also because of the depravity involved. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Genealogy websites identify rape suspect who eluded police for 40 years," 27 Apr. 2018 Sick and disgusted at the depravity he's seen in Riverdale, particularly the crimes perpetrated by the Southside Serpents, Keller could have decided to take justice into his own hands, literally. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Mystery of the Riverdale Black Hood Keeps Getting More Confusing," 22 Apr. 2018

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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Learn More about depravity

Statistics for depravity

Last Updated

28 Jul 2018

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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 \
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

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to make amends

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