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depravity ‎(plural depravities)

  1. (uncountable) The state or condition of being depraved; moral debasement.
    • 1850, Herman Melville, White Jacket, or, The World on a Man-of-War, ch. 34,
      Depravity in the oppressed is no apology for the oppressor.
  2. (countable) A particular depraved act or trait.
    • 1914, Julian Hawthorne, The Subterranean Brotherhood, ch. 16,
      There were men there who had committed merciless robberies, cruel murders, heartless swindles, abominable depravities.
  3. (uncountable, Christian theology) Inborn corruption, entailing the belief that every facet of human nature has been polluted, defiled, and contaminated by sin.
    • 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne,The Scarlet Letter, ch. 8,
      Here is a child of three years old, and she cannot tell who made her! Without question, she is equally in the dark as to her soul, its present depravity, and future destiny!



Related terms[edit]


  • depravity” in An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828.
  • depravity in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • depravity” in Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • depravity” in Microsoft's Encarta World English Dictionary, North American Edition (2007)
  • "depravity" in the Wordsmyth Dictionary-Thesaurus (Wordsmyth, 2002)
  • "depravity" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1989)
  • Random House Webster's Unabridged Electronic Dictionary (1987-1996)