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Borrowed from French corruption, from Latin corruptiō.


  • IPA(key): /kəˈɹʌpʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌpʃən
  • Hyphenation: cor‧rup‧tion


corruption (countable and uncountable, plural corruptions)

  1. The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity
    • 1827, Henry Hallam, The Constitutional History of England from the Accession of Henry VII. to the Death of George II. [], volume (please specify |volume=I or II), London: John Murray, [], →OCLC:
      It was necessary, by exposing the gross corruptions of monasteries, [] to exite popular indignation against them.
    • 1834–1874, George Bancroft, History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent:
      They abstained from some of the worst methods of corruption usual to their party in its earlier days.
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 1, in Internal Combustion[1]:
      But electric vehicles and the batteries that made them run became ensnared in corporate scandals, fraud, and monopolistic corruption that shook the confidence of the nation and inspired automotive upstarts.
    • 2013 June 7, Gary Younge, “Hypocrisy lies at heart of Manning prosecution”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 18:
      WikiLeaks did not cause these uprisings but it certainly informed them. The dispatches revealed details of corruption and kleptocracy that many Tunisians suspected, but could not prove, and would cite as they took to the streets.
  2. The act of corrupting or making putrid, or state of being corrupt or putrid; decomposition or disorganization, in the process of putrefaction; putrefaction; deterioration.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], →OCLC:
      The inducing and accelerating of putrefaction is a subject of very universal inquiry; for corruption is a reciprocal to generation.
  3. The product of corruption; putrid matter.
    • 1820, [Charles Robert Maturin], Melmoth the Wanderer: A Tale. [], volume II, Edinburgh: [] Archibald Constable and Company, and Hurst, Robinson, and Co., [], →OCLC, page 154:
      Think of wandering amid sepulchral ruins, of stumbling over the bones of the dead, of encountering what I cannot describe,—the horror of being among those who are neither the living or the dead;—those dark and shadowless things that sport themselves with the reliques of the dead, and feast and love amid corruption,—ghastly, mocking, and terrific.
  4. The decomposition of biological matter.
  5. Unethical administrative or executive practices (in government or business), including bribery (offering or receiving bribes), conflicts of interest, nepotism, and so on.
    Synonym: venality
  6. (computing) The destruction of data by manipulation of parts of it, either by deliberate or accidental human action or by imperfections in storage or transmission media.
    • 2008, Tony Redmond, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 with SP1:
      The idea of having a time lag is to allow for situations when a corruption of some type affects the source server. If a corruption occurs, you do not want it to replicate to the copy of the database, so the time lag gives administrators the opportunity to recognize that a problem exists and then to have the ability to switch from the database copy if the corruption is so bad that it renders the original database unusable.
  7. The act of changing, or of being changed, for the worse; departure from what is pure, simple, or correct.
    a corruption of style
    corruption of innocence
  8. (usage prescription) A nonstandard form of a word, expression, or text, assigned a value judgment as being debased, especially when resulting from misunderstanding, transcription error, or mishearing.
    • 1996, Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture:
      Even though the longer ending of Mark is itself secondary, its wording was no more immune to corruption than any other portion of the New Testament text (as scribes would normally not know they were corrupting a corruption).
  9. Something originally good or pure that has turned evil or impure; a perversion.
    • 1740, John Leland, An Answer to a Book Intituled, Christianity as Old as the Creation:
      God creates and produces them, but it is according to the Laws of this Species of Beings who were made to propagate one another, so that in this Production earthly Parents are the Instruments. And how far they may be the Instruments in conveying a Corruption or Pravity, is what we cannot distinctly explain; but to make this alone a Rason for denying it, would argue great Rashness and want of Reflection.
    • 1831, Robert Mackenzie Beverley, The Tombs of the Prophets, page iii:
      Far be it from me, however, to attribute the success to my exertions: I know very well that the whole success depends on the corruption and weakness of that system which I attack; for all that is requisite in this siege, is to tell the truth: let the truth be told, without concealment, and without fear of giving offence, and against such warfare the Church of England has no sort of chance: her corruptions and her abuses are so monstrous, that they need be only shewn to he hated; the only difficulty is to find persons who have the courage to withdraw the veil from the abominations that stand in the holy place.
    • 1841, John McKerrow, History of the Secession church, page 143:
      They admitted that there were corruptions in the Church of Scotland, but denied that these corruptions were such as to render a separation from her necessary.
    • 1855, Ezekiel Hopkins, The Works of the Right Reverend Ezekiel Hopkins:
      Let not lazy Christians ever think they shall be more than conquerors, while they use only drowsy and yawning desires, and wish that such a lust were weakened, that such a corruption were mortified and subdued, but never rouse up their graces against them.
    • 2012, Shaun Robinson, A Knights Realm: Forsaken Rise, page 14:
      We believe a corruption has started, we have feared this day for many years; ever since we got reports that a dark cult containing a small amount of members had been praying to the underworld god Volkin, and that they were never caught.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “corruption”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)



Inherited from Old French corruption, borrowed from Latin corruptiōnem.



corruption f (plural corruptions)

  1. corruption (act of corrupting)
  2. corruption (state of being corrupt)
  3. corruption (putrefaction)
  4. (figurative) corruption (bribing)

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Latin corruptiō, corruptiōnem.


corruption f (oblique plural corruptions, nominative singular corruption, nominative plural corruptions)

  1. corruption (state of being corrupted)

Related terms[edit]


  • English: corruption
  • French: corruption