[tur-pi-tood, -tyood]


vile, shameful, or base character; depravity.
a vile or depraved act.

Origin of turpitude

1480–90; < Latin turpitūdō, equivalent to turpi(s) base, vile + -tūdō -tude

Synonyms for turpitude

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for turpitude

Historical Examples of turpitude

  • If this turpitude were published, it would be said that he had fathered it.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • The moral quality of the act is the same; the difference is wholly in the degree of turpitude.


    Calvin Elliott

  • I know the turpitude of these crows, and their lack of respect for merit and birth.

    The Mesmerist's Victim

    Alexandre Dumas

  • It needs no argument to prove the turpitude of such a people.

  • Just then, however, writing out the story of his turpitude, she must needs have him in her mind.

    The Landloper

    Holman Day

British Dictionary definitions for turpitude



base character or action; depravity

Word Origin for turpitude

C15: from Latin turpitūdō ugliness, from turpis base
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 turpitude

"depravity, infamy," late 15c., from Middle French turpitude (early 15c.), from Latin turpitudinem (nominative turpitudo) "baseness," from turpis "vile, ugly, base, shameful," used in both the moral and the physical senses; of unknown origin. Perhaps originally "what one turns away from" (cf. Latin trepit "he turns").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper