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

The work was painted during the first world war – though Vallotton was too old to enlist, the stories of depravity and violence that travelled back from the front sparked his imagination. Samuel Reilly, 1843, "Enigmatic and erotic: the art of Félix Vallotton," 3 July 2019 The veteran reporter recounts in vivid detail not only the depravity of Kelly’s alleged behavior, but also the insouciance—or worse, active support—with which his associates, fans, and legal gatekeepers handled him after it was revealed. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Soulless and the Fallacy of R. Kelly’s Need for ‘Help’," 6 June 2019 At its heart is the epistolary duel between former lovers the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, whose letter-writing commitment and brio go some way to excuse their moral depravity. Jeffrey Gantz,, "Sex as a weapon in Nora’s all-male ‘Liaisons’," 5 June 2018 As adults, Maeby and George Michael are more involved in the family's depravity, and Shawkat deservedly gets more screen time. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Arrested Development' finally feels like itself again in Season 5," 22 May 2018 Published in 1988, the book is more relevant today than ever, predicting the selfishness and depravity of Donald Trump’s America. Wesley Mcnair,, "A life of love, poetry — and the Red Sox," 24 June 2018 Creepy contact lenses will record their misdeeds, whose depravity will ensure the experiment’s continuation. James Demonaco, New York Times, "Review: On Staten Island, ‘The First Purge’ Rages," 3 July 2018 The jury buried Cosby despite high-powered defense lawyers and their breathtaking campaign of courtroom smears against her and all the women who described his depravities. Maria Panaritis,, "Bill Cosby guilty verdict a warning shot to Harvey Weinstein and all others | Maria Panaritis," 26 Apr. 2018 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

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

14 Jul 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).


characterized by aphorism

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