in·​cor·​ri·​gi·​ble (ˌ)in-ˈkȯr-ə-jə-bəl How to pronounce incorrigible (audio)
: incapable of being corrected or amended: such as
: not reformable : depraved
: not manageable : unruly
incorrigibility noun
incorrigible noun
incorrigibleness noun
incorrigibly adverb

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If incorrigible Is a Word, Is Corrigible a Word?

Incorrigible has been part of English since the 14th century. Back then, it was used to describe people who were morally depraved, but now it is most often applied to people who merely have bad habits. Is there a "corrigible?" Yes, indeed, we've used "corrigible" in the sense of "capable of being set right; reparable" (as in "a corrigible defect" and "a corrigible sinner") since the 15th century. Both words are from Latin corrigere, which means "to correct" and which is also the source of our word correct.

Examples of incorrigible in a Sentence

The incorrigible maleness of men is a standing rebuke to the Rousseau-inspired notions of human moral plasticity that are central to liberalism. Richard Lowry, National Review, 3 July 2000
At the heart of Roosevelt's style in foreign affairs was a certain incorrigible amateurism. His off-the-cuff improvisations, his airy tendency to throw out half-baked ideas, caused others to underrate his continuity of purpose … Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., American Heritage, May/June 1994
Eating fugu … is an exotic custom that probably would appeal to every incorrigible mountain climber, skydiver and bungee-jumper in America. Why? The fugu is poisonous—and there's no antidote. Max Friedman, Vegetarian Times, October 1993
Yes, this is a book about America … all seen through the fairy-book life of an incorrigible kid, abandoned by his parents and brought up in a reformatory … Stephen Jay Gould, New York Times Book Review, 7 May 1989
an incorrigible habit of playing practical jokes He is always the class clown and his teachers say he is incorrigible.
Recent Examples on the Web The response was perfectly Lil Nas X—incorrigible, lovable, and a little sad. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 31 Jan. 2024 Working from the assumption that hoarding is a damaging psychological condition, and not just an annoying habit, the researchers got previously incorrigible pack rats to take videos and photos of their treasured possessions. Joe Queenan, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2023 See all Example Sentences for incorrigible 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incorrigible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Late Latin incorrigibilis, from Latin in- + corrigere to correct — more at correct

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of incorrigible was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near incorrigible

Cite this Entry

“Incorrigible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: not able to be corrected or reformed
an incorrigible gambler


2 of 2 noun
: an incorrigible person

More from Merriam-Webster on incorrigible

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