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—which involves screening and censoring videos that depict unconscionable depravity—can cause lasting mental health damage. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "You Tell Us: Should People Use Facial Recognition?," 18 Dec. 2019 The depths of the depravity at the camp have largely only been revealed by task force interrogators suffering crises of conscience. Dina Temple-raston, Washington Post, "Inside the CIA’s hunt for a terrorist mastermind in pre-invasion Iraq," 3 Oct. 2019 While a lighthouse is often thought of as a signal of safety in violent waters, Eggers' beacon is a menacing omen that blinds its keepers, delectably driving them to depravity. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "'The Lighthouse' is a grim nautical tale starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe," 24 Oct. 2019 Baird shows us not only Angelo’s depravity but also the tortured path of repressed sexuality and rationalization that leads him to it. Philip Brandes, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure,’ set in the #MeToo era," 11 Oct. 2019 With his wild style and willingness to plumb the depths of depravity, Deep Red is the film that set the bar for just how far Argento is willing to go to squeeze a few screams out of his audience. Wired, "The 12 Best Foreign Horror Movies You Can Stream Right Now," 28 Oct. 2019 Many conservative Protestants traced Germany’s devolution into depravity to its embrace of Darwinism and de-emphasis of the Bible’s divine origins. William Trollinger, The Conversation, "Fundamentalism turns 100, a landmark for the Christian Right," 8 Oct. 2019 More than 320,000 students are not in school due to the conflict, which keeps growing in depravity from month to month. Joe Penney, Quartz Africa, "West Africa’s Sahel region is especially vulnerable to climate change but also weak governance," 30 Sep. 2019 His misfortune had occurred not because of depravity, but by some error, some ambiguous action. The Economist, "Obituary: Claus von Bülow died on May 25th," 15 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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Time Traveler for depravity

Time Traveler

The first known use of depravity was in 1641

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Statistics for depravity

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Depravity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for depravity


How to pronounce depravity (audio)

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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