tur·​pi·​tude | \ ˈtər-pə-ˌtüd How to pronounce turpitude (audio) , -ˌtyüd\

Definition of turpitude

: inherent baseness : depravity moral turpitude also : a base act

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Did You Know?

Turpitude came to English from Latin by way of Middle French. The Latin word turpitudo comes from "turpis," which means "vile" or "base." The word is often heard in the phrase "moral turpitude," an expression used in law to designate an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community. A criminal offense that involves "moral turpitude" is considered wrong or evil by moral standards, in addition to being the violation of a statute.

Examples of turpitude in a Sentence

pictorial advertisements for chic clothing and fragrances in which drug addiction and other forms of moral turpitude are depicted as alternative fashion statements
Recent Examples on the Web Some states, such as New Mexico and Kansas, limit the reasons for a recall to things such as malfeasance, neglect of duty, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties and conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude. Anna Staver, The Denver Post, "After failed recall attempts, Colorado’s GOP is searching for its next move," 14 Sep. 2019 The fantasy role-playing game was, in the ’80s, considered by some as a ploy conceived by Satan to arouse moral turpitude. Max Londberg, kansascity, "Beyond ‘Satanic Panic’: Agent has theory on 30-year mystery of missing Kansas teen | The Kansas City Star," 8 Apr. 2018 Broad language allowing stars and distributors to be dropped if accused of misconduct is beginning to be included in negotiations in the wake of he Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey situations Moral turpitude? Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "#MeToo Hits Movie Deals: Studios Race to Add 'Morality Clauses' to Contracts," 7 Feb. 2018 Anyone convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude will not be considered. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Application period nears for new independent Ethics Review Board," 11 Apr. 2018 Clarification to crimes of violence and crimes involving moral turpitude. Jamie Dupree, AJC.com, "New GOP bill on DACA would make extensive changes on other immigration issues," 10 Jan. 2018 Those convicted of crimes of moral turpitude in Alabama automatically lose the right to vote. Jonece Starr Dunigan, AL.com, "22-year-old fatally stabbed during argument in Montgomery," 6 Oct. 2017 Petrino’s moral turpitude should have been overlooked. Eric Bolin, ajc, "Bolin: Yes, Bret Bielema and Jeff Long saved Arkansas football," 13 Sep. 2017 Being difficult to wake up is not a sign of moral turpitude Mallory Ortberg, Slate Magazine, "Prudie advises a letter writer who tried to assist a woman getting into her wheelchair and made her cry.," 24 Apr. 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for turpitude

Middle French, from Latin turpitudo, from turpis vile, base

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Statistics for turpitude

Last Updated

23 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for turpitude

The first known use of turpitude was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for turpitude


How to pronounce turpitude (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of turpitude

formal : a very evil quality or way of behaving


tur·​pi·​tude | \ ˈtər-pə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd How to pronounce turpitude (audio) \

Legal Definition of turpitude

: inherent baseness or depravity also : a base act

More from Merriam-Webster on turpitude

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for turpitude

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with turpitude

Nglish: Translation of turpitude for Spanish Speakers

Comments on turpitude

What made you want to look up turpitude? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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