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From Middle English corrupten, from Old French corropt, from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpō, corrumpere (to destroy, ruin, injure, spoil, corrupt, bribe), from com- (together) + rumpere (to break in pieces).



corrupt (comparative more corrupt, superlative most corrupt)

  1. In a depraved state; debased; perverted; morally degenerate; weak in morals.
    The government here is corrupt, so we'll emigrate to escape them.
    • Shakespeare
      At what ease / Might corrupt minds procure knaves as corrupt / To swear against you.
  2. Abounding in errors; not genuine or correct; in an invalid state.
    The text of the manuscript is corrupt.
    It turned out that the program was corrupt - that's why it wouldn't open.
  3. In a putrid state; spoiled; tainted; vitiated; unsound.
    • Knolles
      Who with such corrupt and pestilent bread would feed them.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nouns to which "corrupt" is often applied: practice, state, country, nation, regime, city, government, person, man, politician, leader, mayor, judge, member, minister, file, database, document, woman.


  • , Genesis 6:11
    The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.




corrupt (third-person singular simple present corrupts, present participle corrupting, simple past and past participle corrupted)

  1. (transitive) To make corrupt; to change from good to bad; to draw away from the right path; to deprave; to pervert.
    Don't you dare corrupt my son with those disgusting pictures!
    • , Genesis 6:12
      And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
  2. (intransitive) To become putrid or tainted; to putrefy; to rot.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
    • 1732, George Smith, Institutiones Chirurgicæ: or, Principles of Surgery, [...] To which is Annexed, a Chirurgical Dispensatory, [...], London: Printed [by William Bowyer] for Henry Lintot, at the Cross-Keys against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleetstreet, OCLC 745299684, page 254:
      [] Lanfrank takes Notice of Tract. 3. Doct. 3. cap. 18. ſaying, "I have ſeen many who being full of Humours, have made an Iſſue under the Knee, before due Purgation had been premis'd; whence, by reaſon of the too great Defluxion of Humours, the Legs tumified, ſo that the cauterized Place corrupted, and a Cancer (or rather cacoethic Ulcer) was thereby made, with which great Difficulty was cur'd."
  3. To debase or render impure by alterations or innovations; to falsify.
    to corrupt language, or a holy text
  4. To waste, spoil, or consume; to make worthless.
    • Bible, Matthew vi. 19
      Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt.


Related terms[edit]


Middle French[edit]


Borrowed from Latin corruptus.


corrupt m (feminine singular corrupte, masculine plural corrupts, feminine plural corruptes)

  1. corrupt (impure; not in its original form)