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[per-vurs] /pərˈvɜrs/
willfully determined or disposed to go counter to what is expected or desired; contrary.
characterized by or proceeding from such a determination or disposition:
a perverse mood.
wayward or cantankerous.
persistent or obstinate in what is wrong.
turned away from or rejecting what is right, good, or proper; wicked or corrupt.
Origin of perverse
1325-75; Middle English < Latin perversus facing the wrong way, askew, orig. past participle of pervertere. See pervert
Related forms
perversely, adverb
perverseness, noun
nonperverse, adjective
nonperversely, adverb
nonperverseness, noun
unperverse, adjective
unperversely, adverb
1. contumacious, disobedient. 4. stubborn, headstrong. See willful. 5. evil, bad, sinful.
1. agreeable. 4. tractable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for perversely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • perversely, he and Alice did not take to each other in the way Mrs. Yorke had hoped.

    Gordon Keith

    Thomas Nelson Page
  • perversely, he hated it for healing, and he poked it viciously to feel it throb.

    The Plastic Age Percy Marks
  • perversely he frowned, as if the thing increased his pain, annoyed him beyond words.

    Aurora the Magnificent Gertrude Hall
  • perversely, they persisted in huddling in close, tight clusters, as though drawn together by a gravitation of common discomfort.

    Local Color Irvin S. Cobb
  • perversely, ever since the advent of his keen young disciple, he himself had been less keen.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • perversely, since he seemed bent on rejecting my reward, I became anxious to press it upon him.

  • perversely I continue to be the subject of contradictory and conflicting moods impossible to understand and difficult to describe.

    Fibble, D. D. Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
British Dictionary definitions for perversely


deliberately deviating from what is regarded as normal, good, or proper
persistently holding to what is wrong
wayward or contrary; obstinate; cantankerous
(archaic) perverted
Derived Forms
perversely, adverb
perverseness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French pervers, from Latin perversus turned the wrong way
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perversely



mid-14c., "wicked," from Old French pervers "unnatural, degenerate; perverse, contrary" (12c.) and directly from Latin perversus "turned away, contrary, askew," figuratively, "turned away from what is right, wrong, malicious, spiteful," past participle of pervertere "to corrupt" (see pervert (v.)). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by forcerred, from past participle of forcyrran "to avoid," from cierran "to turn, return." Meaning "wrong, not in accord with what is accepted" is from 1560s; sense of "obstinate, stubborn" is from 1570s. It keeps the non-sexual senses of pervert (v.) and allows the psychological ones to go with perverted. Related: Perversely; perverseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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