[ per-vur-si-tee ]
See synonyms for perversity on
noun,plural per·ver·si·ties for 5.
  1. a willful tendency or determination to go counter to what is expected or desired, sometimes for no apparent reason; contrariness:On Thanksgiving, out of sheer perversity, he brought up a topic that was almost taboo for his family.

  2. the quality of being, or having an effect, exactly contrary to what is expected or desired: The administration was slow to acknowledge the perversity of their welfare reform, which has given the underemployed an incentive to become unemployed.

  1. persistence or obstinacy in what is wrong:She again rejected her parents' advice with self-defeating perversity.

  2. a turning away from or rejection of thoughts and deeds one knows are right, good, or proper; wickedness or corruption: The preacher lamented the perversity of mankind that began in the Garden of Eden.

  3. an instance of willful contrariety, obstinacy, or wickedness, or an outcome directly opposite to one’s intentions or expectations: One of the perversities of the system is that the worse one’s crime in one’s home country, the more likely one is to gain asylum.

Origin of perversity

First recorded in 1400–50; Middle English, from Old French perversité, from Latin perversitāt-, stem of perversitās “wrongheadedness, unreasonableness”; see origin at perverse, -ity

Other words from perversity

  • non·per·ver·si·ty, noun, plural non·per·ver·si·ties.

Words Nearby perversity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use perversity in a sentence

  • perversity, inconsistency—but it was her nature, and she could not overcome it.

    One Man in His Time | Ellen Glasgow

British Dictionary definitions for perversity


/ (pəˈvɜːsɪtɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. the quality or state of being perverse

  2. a perverse action, comment, etc

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