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 City officials said the Adams Street shooting is part of the violence endemic to communities across America but also one that rises to a new level of moral depravity. Binghui Huang, USA TODAY, "5 people, unborn child killed in Indianapolis mass shooting," 25 Jan. 2021 Unlike the crime thrillers favored by Hollywood, there’s nothing gratuitous in Dostoevsky’s rendering of human depravity and suffering. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Times are bad, so keep your uplift. Give me ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘The Godfather’," 14 Jan. 2021 Larsson’s plot is nothing more (or less) than a clever conventional whodunit festooned with glimmers of depravity. Christian Holub,, "Every David Fincher movie, ranked by EW grade," 3 Dec. 2020 Thirty-eight students and two teachers died as a result of the initial blasts — four others plus the killer died in related attacks — and the depravity behind it all was as unimaginable as the loss of life. Eric Zorn,, "Column: My unexpected connection to the worst school killing in US history," 25 Nov. 2020 The Stars and Stripes belonged to whites; for Black Americans, the song proposed a banner of social and moral depravity decorated with a possum gnawing a pork chop and a chicken with poker dice for eyes over a banjo and a slip to play the numbers. Theodore R. Johnson, New York Times, "The Challenge of Black Patriotism," 18 Nov. 2020 Has depravity ever had a sweeter face than Sarah Paulson's? Leah Greenblatt,, "Sarah Paulson is a mom unhinged in Hulu's high-camp thriller Run: Review," 18 Nov. 2020 These way-too-easy-to-make smoky baby sausages wrapped in bacon, brushed with BBQ sauce and lightly sprinkled with brown sugar and cayenne pepper define total savory indulgence bordering on depravity. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Pandemic Halloween party: Turning pumpkins into jack o’ lanterns with your pod…Plus snacks," 15 Oct. 2020 Czarnek was also sued by Staszewski for accusing the 2018 Equality Parade in Lublin, which Staszewski was co-organizing, of promoting depravity. NBC News, "Under fire over gay rights, Polish leader blames activist," 5 Oct. 2020

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

Time Traveler for depravity Time Traveler

The first known use of depravity was in 1641

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Statistics for depravity

Last Updated

8 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Depravity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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