verb rep·ro·bate \ ˈre-prə-ˌbāt \

Definition of reprobate

reprobated; reprobating
transitive verb
1 :to condemn strongly as unworthy, unacceptable, or evil
  • reprobating the laxity of the age
2 :to foreordain to damnation
3 :to refuse to accept :reject


play \ˈre-prə-ˌbā-tiv\ adjective


play \-bə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

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Examples of reprobate in a Sentence

  1. the board will most likely reprobate the request for parole

  2. without hesitation she reprobated such an indecent idea

Origin and Etymology of reprobate

Middle English, from Late Latin reprobatus, past participle of reprobare — more at reprove

Synonym Discussion of reprobate

criticize, reprehend, censure, reprobate, condemn, denounce mean to find fault with openly. criticize implies finding fault especially with methods or policies or intentions.
    • criticized the police for using violence
reprehend implies both criticism and severe rebuking.
    • reprehends the self-centeredness of today's students
censure carries a strong suggestion of authority and of reprimanding.
    • a Senator formally censured by his peers
reprobate implies strong disapproval or firm refusal to sanction.
    • reprobated his son's unconventional lifestyle
condemn usually suggests an unqualified and final unfavorable judgment.
    • condemned the government's racial policies
denounce adds to condemn the implication of a public declaration.
    • a pastoral letter denouncing abortion




Definition of reprobate

1 archaic :rejected as worthless or not standing a test :condemned
2 a :foreordained to damnation
b :morally corrupt :depraved
3 :expressing or involving reprobation
4 :of, relating to, or characteristic of a reprobate

Examples of reprobate in a Sentence

  1. a reprobate judge who could be bribed, and often with astonishing ease

First Known Use of reprobate

15th century




Definition of reprobate

:an unprincipled or depraved person :scoundrel, rogue
  • Cemeteries were seldom placed on the north side of a church, which, if used for burial at all, was reserved for unbaptized children, criminals, reprobates and suicides.
  • —Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Examples of reprobate in a Sentence

  1. a program for rehabilitating hard-core reprobates and turning them into hard-working, law-abiding citizens

Recent Examples of reprobate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reprobate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

These days, calling someone a "reprobate" is hardly a condemnation to hellfire and brimstone, but the original reprobates of the 16th century were hardened sinners who had fallen from God's grace. By the 19th century, "reprobate" had acquired the milder, but still utterly condemnatory, sense of "a depraved person." Gradually, though, the criticism implied by "reprobate" became touched with tolerance and even a bit of humor. It is now most likely to be used as it was in this August 1995 New Yorker magazine article about the death of musician Jerry Garcia: "It was suddenly obvious that Garcia had become, against all odds, an American icon: by Thursday morning, the avuncular old reprobate had smuggled his way onto the front pages of newspapers around the world."

First Known Use of reprobate


REPROBATE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of reprobate for English Language Learners

  • : a person who behaves in a morally wrong way

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to conform or adhere

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