perverse

adjective
per·​verse | \ (ˌ)pər-ˈvərs How to pronounce perverse (audio) , ˈpər-ˌvərs \

Definition of perverse

1a : turned away from what is right or good : corrupt
c : contrary to the evidence or the direction of the judge on a point of law perverse verdict
2a : obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable, or accepted : wrongheaded
b : arising from or indicative of stubbornness or obstinacy
3 : marked by peevishness or petulance : cranky
4 : marked by perversion

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Other Words from perverse

perversely adverb
perverseness noun
perversity \ pər-​ˈvər-​sə-​tē How to pronounce perversity (audio) , -​stē \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for perverse

contrary, perverse, restive, balky, wayward mean inclined to resist authority or control. contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice. a contrary child perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal. a perverse, intractable critic restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders. tired soldiers growing restive balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action. a balky witness wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior. a school for wayward youths

Examples of perverse in a Sentence

their perverse cruelty to animals She has a perverse fascination with death. He seems to take perverse pleasure in making things as difficult as possible. His friends all enjoy his perverse sense of humor. Is this some kind of perverse joke?
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Recent Examples on the Web Despite the perverse incentives that encourage misconduct, virtue persists. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "Wall Street’s watchdog is obscuring data that could protect investors," 3 Mar. 2020 Worker liability law gives companies a perverse incentive not to try to improve the safety of workplaces managed by subcontractors. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Companies are contracting out more jobs—that’s not great for workers," 2 Mar. 2020 The law, in attempting to preserve a narrow notion of what a family should be, has had the perverse effect of severing the mother-child bond. Anna Louie Sussman, The New Yorker, "When the Government Seizes Your Embryos," 22 Oct. 2019 The spread of democracy in the 1990s across the region has had a perverse effect. David Luhnow, WSJ, "Latin America Is the Murder Capital of the World," 20 Sep. 2018 Kaixuan observes that some of them study just as hard at home as in school, and take perverse pleasure in the fact that others must be slacking off. The Economist, "The coronavirus is causing massive disruption to education in China," 27 Feb. 2020 Part of the perverse pleasure of the genre is recognizing familiar strategies. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "The Lodge Is a House of Horrors With Nothing Inside," 7 Feb. 2020 At one time, this would have seemed like a perverse joke. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "With a Phone, Are You Ever Really Somewhere?," 16 Jan. 2020 The perverse thing is that the renaissance of the American alligator is owed in no small part to the very commercial activity that California seeks to inhibit. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 9 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perverse.' 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 perverse

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for perverse

Middle English, from Anglo-French purvers, pervers, from Latin perversus, from past participle of pervertere

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Time Traveler for perverse

Time Traveler

The first known use of perverse was in the 14th century

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Statistics for perverse

Last Updated

20 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Perverse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perverse. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for perverse

perverse

adjective
How to pronounce perverse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of perverse

: wrong or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive

perverse

adjective
per·​verse | \ pər-ˈvərs How to pronounce perverse (audio) \

Kids Definition of perverse

1 : stubborn in being against what is right or sensible
2 : wrong especially in a way that is strange or offensive

perverse

adjective
per·​verse | \ pər-ˈvərs How to pronounce perverse (audio) \

Medical Definition of perverse

: being, relating to, or characterized by perversion perverse sexual behavior

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