View synonyms for corrupt


[ kuh-ruhpt ]


  1. guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked:

    a corrupt judge.

    Synonyms: trustworthy, false

  2. debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil:

    a corrupt society.

  3. (of a text) made inferior by errors or alterations:

    Scholars compared the corrupt Alexandrian manuscript with a more reliable Greek translation.

  4. infected; tainted.
  5. Archaic. decayed; putrid.

    Synonyms: spoiled, decomposed, rotten, putrescent

  6. Computers. relating to or designating computer code or stored data that contains errors:

    If the corrupt file won’t open, restore a previous save.

verb (used with object)

  1. to destroy the integrity of; cause to be dishonest, disloyal, etc., especially by bribery.

    Synonyms: demoralize, suborn, buy, bribe

  2. to lower morally; pervert:

    to corrupt youth.

    Synonyms: vitiate, debase

  3. to alter (a language, text, etc.) for the worse; debase.
  4. to mar; spoil.
  5. to infect; taint.

    Synonyms: defile, pollute, contaminate

  6. Archaic. to make putrid or putrescent.

    Synonyms: putrefy

  7. Computers. to introduce errors in (computer code or stored data) when saving, transmitting, or retrieving it:

    I downloaded some free modifications that corrupted the core program, so I can’t open it until I uninstall and reinstall the original version.

  8. English Law. (in historical use) to subject (an attainted person) to corruption of blood.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become corrupt.


/ kəˈrʌpt /


  1. lacking in integrity; open to or involving bribery or other dishonest practices

    corrupt practices in an election

    a corrupt official

  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


  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 Forms

  • corˈruptness, noun
  • corˈruptive, adjective
  • corˈrupter, noun
  • corˈruptly, adverb
  • corˈruptively, adverb
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Other Words From

  • cor·rupted·ly adverb
  • cor·rupted·ness noun
  • cor·rupter cor·ruptor noun
  • cor·ruptive adjective
  • cor·ruptive·ly adverb
  • cor·ruptly adverb
  • cor·ruptness noun
  • noncor·rupt adjective
  • noncor·ruptly adverb
  • noncor·ruptness noun
  • noncor·rupter noun
  • noncor·ruptive adjective
  • over·cor·rupt verb adjective
  • over·cor·ruptly adverb
  • precor·rupt verb (used with object)
  • precor·ruptly adverb
  • precor·ruptness noun
  • precor·ruptive adjective
  • uncor·rupt adjective
  • uncor·ruptly adverb
  • uncor·ruptness noun
  • uncor·rupted adjective
  • uncor·rupted·ly adverb
  • uncor·rupted·ness noun
  • uncor·rupting adjective
  • uncor·ruptive adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of corrupt1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English verb from Latin corruptus “rotten, decayed, corrupted” (past participle of corrumpere ), equivalent to cor- intensive prefix + rup- (variant stem of rumpere “to break”) + -tus past participle suffix; cor-
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Word History and Origins

Origin of corrupt1

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

Corrupt, dishonest, venal apply to a person, 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.
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Example Sentences

When it saw the Taliban’s rapid rise to prominence in the war against the Afghan government, ISIS declared that the takeover was the result of a corrupt conspiracy between the United States and the Taliban.

In Vietnam we sided with a corrupt post-colonial government dominated by minority Catholics in a majority Buddhist nation.

From Time

In each case, the United States installed a corrupt, pro-Western regime before abandoning its support when the cost was deemed to outweigh the benefit.

He also once again grumbled that the “corrupt media” had taken his previous comments out of context.

With Bulgaria ranked as the EU’s most corrupt country, no activity can really be ruled out.

From Ozy

These young adults have voluntarily checked out of a political system they consider corrupt and dysfunctional.

Cuba, already corrupt, will have to avoid becoming even more so when American investment pours in.

So, is Rampal really that different from a corrupt, charismatic megachurch leader felled by scandal?

That suggestion turns absurd when you consider the long list of corrupt Democrat politicians Lynch has sent to prison.

This corrupt bargain results in a decade-long stasis, with far-reaching implications.

He will tell you that evil communications corrupt good manners, and pitch defiles.

It is tolerably certain that this is a corrupt form of the passage, and only makes the matter darker.

The administration had been too corrupt, the exactions too heavy to be longer borne, when reform appeared to be within reach.

Their speech is a dialect called Chabucano—a mixture of very corrupt Spanish and native tongues.

And the degraded society, like the robe which once covered the living body, but is afterwards cast off, is faded and corrupt.


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More About Corrupt

What does corrupt mean?

Corrupt is commonly used as an adjective to describe members of organizations or institutions who engage in illegal or otherwise dishonest practices to benefit themselves. It can also be used in this way to describe their actions or institutions that have a lot of this activity.

Corrupt can also be used as verb meaning to destroy the integrity of someone or something or cause someone to be dishonest.

The state of being corrupt is corruption. Both terms are most often used in the context of such rulebreaking by people who are powerful or who are responsible for the well-being of others, such as politicians, government officials, and police officers.

More generally, corrupt can be used as an adjective that means depraved, debased, or having been made worse in some way. It can also be used as a verb meaning to make someone or something depraved, debased, or worse in some way.

More specifically, corrupt can mean to alter a word or text in a way that deviates from its original or intended form.

Example: This isn’t just one or two corrupt officials. The whole organization is corrupt—bribes and kickbacks are their normal way of doing business.

Where does corrupt come from?

The first records of the word corrupt come from the 1200s. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb corrumpere, meaning “to ruin” (or literally “to break to pieces”), from the verb rumpere, “to break.”

People described as corrupt are usually those who are supposed to be upholding the rules but instead break the rules to benefit themselves—typically to get richer or more powerful. The word is most commonly used to describe crooked officials in the government or other organizations and their shady dealings (as opposed to ordinary citizens). Perhaps the most common and well-known example of corruption is bribery, and in fact corruption can be used as a synonym of bribery.

When people say a person has been corrupted, it usually involves a debasing of their values or morality (at least in the judgment of the person using the word). Language and words are corrupted all the time as words evolve and get introduced into other languages. This sense of the word is less negative than others. In the context of software, data or files can get corrupted due to various errors, often resulting in files being lost or unable to be opened.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to corrupt?

  • corruption (noun)
  • corruptible (adjective)
  • corruptive (adjective)
  • corrupter (noun)
  • corruptor (noun)
  • corruptly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for corrupt?

What are some words that share a root or word element with corrupt

What are some words that often get used in discussing corrupt?

How is corrupt used in real life?

Corrupt is most commonly used to describe crooked institutions and officials, especially in government and politics.



Try using corrupt!

Is corrupt used correctly in the following sentence?

Parents often worry that their kids will stumble upon programming that corrupts their values.