1 of 3


: 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


2 of 3


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


3 of 3


rep·​ro·​bate ˈre-prə-ˌbāt How to pronounce reprobate (audio)
reprobated; reprobating

transitive verb

: to condemn strongly as unworthy, unacceptable, or evil
reprobating the laxity of the age
: to refuse to accept : reject
: to foreordain to damnation
reprobative adjective
reprobatory adjective

Did you know?

The original reprobates were hardened sinners who had fallen from God's grace. In time, their name was used outside of religious contexts for any person who behaves in a morally wrong way. In Late Latin, reprobare means "to disapprove" or "to condemn."

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Example Sentences

Noun a program for rehabilitating hard-core reprobates and turning them into hard-working, law-abiding citizens Adjective a reprobate judge who could be bribed, and often with astonishing ease Verb the board will most likely reprobate the request for parole without hesitation she reprobated such an indecent idea
Recent Examples on the Web
Charlie Price, a resolute drunken reprobate, has resolved to marry a woman with the aim of paying off his debts and staying in his family's good graces. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 17 Nov. 2022 Boyer and Mauzey have dug deeper into their problem-parent roles to find the humanity in their screwups and shortcomings, and the empathy in their fragile hopes, while Milligan is an irresistible reprobate with killer comic timing. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2022 The key to this gaslighting reprobate is that the group has become distracted. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 July 2022 This era of the Rolling Stones is the look every band strived for less than a decade later, when every unwashed reprobate on the Sunset Strip embraced the unkempt hair look that turned into glam rock. Tim Moffatt,, 10 June 2022 Jack is variously described and self-described as a ne’er-do-well, a reprobate, a black sheep and a scoundrel. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 25 Sep. 2020 Today’s Rand movement is full of transgressors and reprobates. Alexander Sammon, The New Republic, 14 Aug. 2019 Joann Jimenez described reprobates as people who have been rejected by God. Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2019 Get our daily newsletter The scandal over Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women, and over the other reprobates exposed in his wake, is changing Hollywood irrevocably. The Economist, 1 Mar. 2018
To many of them, killing someone with such a reprobate mind was justifiable by God’s laws. Time, 7 Nov. 2022 Batiste is not a reprobate minstrel like late-night regular Lil Nas X; yet the weakness of both is held in equivalent esteem by the cultural mainstream. Armond White, National Review, 6 Apr. 2022 That’s when Regina’s sardonic sister (Wanda Skyes, the show’s co-creator) steps in and lets him and his reprobate pals have it. Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express-News, 21 Apr. 2021 For reference, consider the late, reprobate Southwest Conference. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 13 Jan. 2020 While Brussels often pulls its punches on enforcing the rules, the stigma of being a fiscal pariah can be enough to rattle financial markets and push reprobate countries into compliance. Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2019 Bryan Cranston gets wild as a free-spirited, reprobate bar owner. Chris Ball,, 4 Feb. 2018
Some of it was the sheer allure of mischief-making, the unrepentant reprobate being more compelling than the nice guy. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 5 Apr. 2021 Lemme hear from you reprobates who bet the rent money and lost. Paul Daugherty,, 28 Oct. 2019 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1592, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reprobate was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near reprobate

Cite this Entry

“Reprobate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 verb
rep·​ro·​bate ˈrep-rə-ˌbāt How to pronounce reprobate (audio)
reprobated; reprobating
: to condemn strongly as unworthy or evil


2 of 3 adjective
: doomed to hell : condemned
: being without any morals : corrupt
: of, relating to, or characteristic of a wicked person


3 of 3 noun
: a wicked person
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.