in·​cor·​ri·​gi·​ble (ˌ)in-ˈkȯr-ə-jə-bəl How to pronounce incorrigible (audio)
: incapable of being corrected or amended: such as
: not reformable : depraved
: not manageable : unruly
incorrigibility noun
incorrigible noun
incorrigibleness noun
incorrigibly adverb

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If incorrigible Is a Word, Is Corrigible a Word?

Incorrigible has been part of English since the 14th century. Back then, it was used to describe people who were morally depraved, but now it is most often applied to people who merely have bad habits. Is there a "corrigible?" Yes, indeed, we've used "corrigible" in the sense of "capable of being set right; reparable" (as in "a corrigible defect" and "a corrigible sinner") since the 15th century. Both words are from Latin corrigere, which means "to correct" and which is also the source of our word correct.

Examples of incorrigible in a Sentence

The incorrigible maleness of men is a standing rebuke to the Rousseau-inspired notions of human moral plasticity that are central to liberalism. Richard Lowry, National Review, 3 July 2000
At the heart of Roosevelt's style in foreign affairs was a certain incorrigible amateurism. His off-the-cuff improvisations, his airy tendency to throw out half-baked ideas, caused others to underrate his continuity of purpose … Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., American Heritage, May/June 1994
Eating fugu … is an exotic custom that probably would appeal to every incorrigible mountain climber, skydiver and bungee-jumper in America. Why? The fugu is poisonous—and there's no antidote. Max Friedman, Vegetarian Times, October 1993
Yes, this is a book about America … all seen through the fairy-book life of an incorrigible kid, abandoned by his parents and brought up in a reformatory … Stephen Jay Gould, New York Times Book Review, 7 May 1989
an incorrigible habit of playing practical jokes He is always the class clown and his teachers say he is incorrigible. See More
Recent Examples on the Web While recognizing Dyke’s decency to employees, DeSantis found his boss to be an incorrigible micromanager, firing off emails at all hours of the night. James Bandler, ProPublica, 21 Nov. 2023 The most important one is that Trump is utterly incorrigible. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2023 Creative adults may produce different sorts of work, but most seem to have had in common, as children, a certain incorrigible enthusiasm. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 28 July 2023 There are people who like part three, with Sean Connery as Indy’s incorrigible adventurer father, even better than the original. A.a. Dowd, Vulture, 3 July 2023 Then there’s Seattle, where the incorrigible City Council has voted to defund the police for the second year in a row. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 3 Dec. 2021 The series is no right-wing hit job, and while liberal journalists have been getting more vocally critical of Clinton’s treatment of women over the past several years, this may be the first pop-cultural depiction in which Clinton comes off as not just incorrigible but also predatory. David Klion, The New Republic, 9 Sep. 2021 In February, the House voted 250–173 to overturn D.C.’s incorrigible criminal-justice reform. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 29 Apr. 2023 About 50 percent are termed incorrigible. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 10 Nov. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incorrigible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Late Latin incorrigibilis, from Latin in- + corrigere to correct — more at correct

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of incorrigible was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near incorrigible

Cite this Entry

“Incorrigible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: not able to be corrected or reformed
an incorrigible gambler


2 of 2 noun
: an incorrigible person

More from Merriam-Webster on incorrigible

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