per·​vert | \ pər-ˈvərt How to pronounce pervert (audio) \
perverted; perverting; perverts

Definition of pervert

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true or morally right : corrupt
b : to cause to turn aside or away from what is generally done or accepted : misdirect
2a : to divert to a wrong end or purpose : misuse
b : to twist the meaning or sense of : misinterpret


per·​vert | \ ˈpər-ˌvərt How to pronounce pervert (audio) \

Definition of pervert (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that has been perverted specifically : one given to some form of sexual perversion

Other Words from pervert


perverter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for pervert


debase, vitiate, deprave, corrupt, debauch, pervert mean to cause deterioration or lowering in quality or character. debase implies a loss of position, worth, value, or dignity. commercialism has debased the holiday vitiate implies a destruction of purity, validity, or effectiveness by allowing entrance of a fault or defect. a foreign policy vitiated by partisanship deprave implies moral deterioration by evil thoughts or influences. the claim that society is depraved by pornography corrupt implies loss of soundness, purity, or integrity. the belief that bureaucratese corrupts the language debauch implies a debasing through sensual indulgence. the long stay on a tropical isle had debauched the ship's crew pervert implies a twisting or distorting from what is natural or normal. perverted the original goals of the institute

Examples of pervert in a Sentence

Verb people who pervert their religion to support violence They perverted the truth to help further their careers. movies that pervert the minds of young people by glorifying violence Noun longtime residents warned us not to go near the neighborhood pervert
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The major social-media and tech companies have already done their share to pervert civil discourse and shatter consensus and squelch reason, all to make a buck. Sam Lipsyte, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 Yet Cry Macho, though minor, confronts the craven politics that pervert parenthood and international responsibility — whether volatile, unresolved concerns at the U.S.—Mexico border or the hasty, humiliating Afghanistan evacuation. Armond White, National Review, 17 Sep. 2021 Its crowded stadium shots present us with the contemporary mystery of how masses of friendly people later convert into the opposition — the spirit of brotherhood that politics currently pervert. Kyle Smith, National Review, 6 Aug. 2021 Money can really inform and pervert our most intimate relationships, beyond just the employee-guest relationship at the hotel. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 18 July 2021 Most presidents won't pervert the conduct of their office the way Trump did. Star Tribune, 23 Jan. 2021 The Gettysburg gambit is just his latest attempt to appropriate American history and symbology and pervert it to suit his ends. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 12 Aug. 2020 But then Kaepernick’s message, as messages often do, became perverted into a debate that had nothing to do with his point. Mike Finger,, 6 June 2020 McNeil isn’t oblivious to the dark side of lurking, the way certain corners of the internet study discourses to mimic, troll, or pervert them. Adrian Daub, The New Republic, 13 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fighting with one another is weakening our pervert brand. David Marchese, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2022 Brandon is spiraling down the pervert drain to be eventually flushed out into the ocean of depravity. Mike Postalakis, SPIN, 15 Feb. 2022 The article begins, A serial pervert has been terrorizing a Brooklyn neighborhood by repeatedly exposing himself to kids — but keeps getting cut loose thanks to New York’s lax bail reform laws . . . Swell. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 20 Sep. 2021 Infectious Diseases was a liar and pervert, the newspaper reported. Tiffini Theisen,, 7 Sep. 2021 The story of the shifting, creative ways that shame and denial pervert our social arrangements cannot be told too many times. Christine Smallwood, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2021 Faxe the Foreteller centers an amazing scene, in a high hall, surrounded by eight other proleptic figures, two of them being quite insane and one a curious male pervert. Harold Bloom, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2020 The chief barged into the police interrogation room where the man, handcuffed to the floor, called him a pervert. New York Times, 17 Dec. 2019 Joe also totally kills the pervert (Chris D'Elia) who abused Delilah and who came this close to abusing Ellie. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, 26 Dec. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of pervert


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1501, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pervert


Middle English, from Anglo-French purvertir, pervertir, from Latin pervertere to overturn, corrupt, pervert, from per- thoroughly + vertere to turn — more at per-, worth

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The first known use of pervert was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

3 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pervert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for pervert


transitive verb
per·​vert | \ pər-ˈvərt How to pronounce pervert (audio) \

Medical Definition of pervert

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause to engage in perversion or to become perverted


per·​vert | \ ˈpər-ˌvərt How to pronounce pervert (audio) \

Medical Definition of pervert (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that has been perverted specifically : one given to some form of sexual perversion

More from Merriam-Webster on pervert

Nglish: Translation of pervert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pervert for Arabic Speakers


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