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corrupt

[kuh-ruhpt]
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adjective
  1. guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked: a corrupt judge.
  2. debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil: a corrupt society.
  3. made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text.
  4. infected; tainted.
  5. decayed; putrid.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to destroy the integrity of; cause to be dishonest, disloyal, etc., especially by bribery.
  2. to lower morally; pervert: to corrupt youth.
  3. to alter (a language, text, etc.) for the worse; debase.
  4. to mar; spoil.
  5. to infect; taint.
  6. to make putrid or putrescent.
  7. English Law. to subject (an attainted person) to corruption of blood.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become corrupt.
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Origin of corrupt

1250–1300; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin corruptus broken in pieces, corrupted (past participle of corrumpere), equivalent to cor- cor- + rup- (variant stem of rumpere to break) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formscor·rupt·ed·ly, adverbcor·rupt·ed·ness, nouncor·rupt·er, cor·rup·tor, nouncor·rup·tive, adjectivecor·rup·tive·ly, adverbcor·rupt·ly, adverbcor·rupt·ness, nounnon·cor·rupt, adjectivenon·cor·rupt·ly, adverbnon·cor·rupt·ness, nounnon·cor·rupt·er, nounnon·cor·rup·tive, adjectiveo·ver·cor·rupt, verb, adjectiveo·ver·cor·rupt·ly, adverbpre·cor·rupt, verb (used with object)pre·cor·rupt·ly, adverbpre·cor·rupt·ness, nounpre·cor·rup·tive, adjectiveun·cor·rupt, adjectiveun·cor·rupt·ly, adverbun·cor·rupt·ness, nounun·cor·rupt·ed, adjectiveun·cor·rupt·ed·ly, adverbun·cor·rupt·ed·ness, nounun·cor·rupt·ing, adjectiveun·cor·rup·tive, adjective

Synonyms

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1. false, untrustworthy. 3, 4. contaminated. 4, 5. putrescent, rotten, spoiled. 6. demoralize, bribe. 7. debase, vitiate. 10. contaminate, pollute, spoil, defile. 11. putrefy.

Synonym study

1. Corrupt, dishonest, venal apply to one, especially in public office, who acts on mercenary motives, without regard to honor, right, or justice. A corrupt politician is one originally honest who has succumbed to temptation and begun questionable practices. A dishonest politician is one lacking native integrity. A venal politician is one so totally debased as to sell patronage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

unscrupulouscrookedshadyrottenfraudulentnefariousvenalunethicaluntrustworthydepravedevilboorishharmdebaseviolatesubvertruintaintwarpimpair

Examples from the Web for corrupt

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Nevertheless, we will have it done, lest their bad example should corrupt the other hogs.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Halloway is honest and clean, at least, while McCune is corrupt to the bone.

  • The noble people will be nobly ruled, and the ignorant and corrupt ignobly.

    Self-Help

    Samuel Smiles

  • I "run down" the accountant because he was either ignorant or corrupt.

  • The earth is corrupt, science only serves to show its rottenness.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola


British Dictionary definitions for corrupt

corrupt

adjective
  1. lacking in integrity; open to or involving bribery or other dishonest practicesa corrupt official; corrupt practices in an election
  2. morally depraved
  3. putrid or rotten
  4. contaminated; unclean
  5. (of a text or manuscript) made meaningless or different in meaning from the original by scribal errors or alterations
  6. (of computer programs or data) containing errors
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verb
  1. to become or cause to become dishonest or disloyal
  2. to debase or become debased morally; deprave
  3. (tr) to infect or contaminate; taint
  4. (tr) to cause to become rotten
  5. (tr) to alter (a text, manuscript, etc) from the original
  6. (tr) computing to introduce errors into (data or a program)
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Derived Formscorrupter or corruptor, nouncorruptive, adjectivecorruptively, adverbcorruptly, adverbcorruptness, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Latin corruptus spoiled, from corrumpere to ruin, literally: break to pieces, from rumpere to break
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

Word Origin and History for corrupt

adj.

mid-14c., from Old French corropt "unhealthy, corrupt; uncouth" (of language), and directly from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpere "to destroy; spoil," figuratively "corrupt, seduce, bribe," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + rup-, past participle stem of rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.)). Related: Corruptly; corruptness.

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v.

mid-14c., "contaminate, impair the purity of," from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpere (see corrupt (adj.)). Late 14c. as "pervert the meaning of," also "putrefy." Related: Corrupted; corrupting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper