as in stubborn
sticking to an opinion, purpose, or course of action in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion a fact so self-evident that not even the most perverse of opponents could deny it

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in inappropriate
not appropriate for a particular occasion or situation a convicted criminal seemed like a perverse choice for a bank employee

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective perverse contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of perverse are balky, contrary, restive, and wayward. While all these words mean "inclined to resist authority or control," perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal.

a perverse, intractable critic

When can balky be used instead of perverse?

Although the words balky and perverse have much in common, balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action.

a balky witness

When is it sensible to use contrary instead of perverse?

In some situations, the words contrary and perverse are roughly equivalent. However, contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice.

a contrary child

Where would restive be a reasonable alternative to perverse?

The words restive and perverse can be used in similar contexts, but restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders.

tired soldiers growing restive

When would wayward be a good substitute for perverse?

The synonyms wayward and perverse are sometimes interchangeable, but wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior.

a school for wayward youths

Thesaurus Entries Near perverse

Cite this Entry

“Perverse.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on perverse

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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