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 formsper·verse·ly, adverbper·verse·ness, nounnon·per·verse, adjectivenon·per·verse·ly, adverbnon·per·verse·ness, nounun·per·verse, adjectiveun·per·verse·ly, adverb

Synonyms for perverse

1. contumacious, disobedient. 4. stubborn, headstrong. See willful. 5. evil, bad, sinful.

Antonyms for perverse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for perverse

Contemporary Examples of perverse

Historical Examples of perverse

  • The Imp of the Perverse must have chuckled at the situation.

  • Perverse Doctrine is of the very same, which gaineth Countries by little and little, as a Canker doth in the whole body.

  • Perverse and irreverent persons even dared to affirm, to the great indignation of Señor Vicente, that the whole story was a lie.

    Luna Benamor

    Vicente Blasco Ibez

  • Perverse and fantastic as is the plan of his poem, none of his works is richer in beauties of detail.

    The Age of Dryden

    Richard Garnett

  • Perverse and irreverent persons even dared to affirm, to the great indignation of Seor Vicente, that the whole story was a lie.

British Dictionary definitions for perverse



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 Formsperversely, adverbperverseness, noun

Word Origin for perverse

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

Word Origin and History for perverse

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