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From Old French pervertir, itself from the Latin pervertō.



pervert (plural perverts)

  1. (dated) One who has been perverted; one who has turned to error; one who has turned to a twisted sense of values or morals.
  2. A person whose sexual habits are not considered acceptable.
    Synonym: (slang) perv
    Antonyms: normophile, (religious) convert
    Those perverts were trying to spy on us while we changed clothes!

Usage notes[edit]

  • In contemporary usage, pervert is usually understood to refer to a sexually perverted person. Traditionally, the word was mainly associated with persons of false religious beliefs.

Derived terms[edit]



pervert (third-person singular simple present perverts, present participle perverting, simple past and past participle perverted)

  1. (transitive) To turn another way; to divert.
    Synonyms: divert, steer, veer
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline:
      Let's follow him, and pervert the present wrath.
  2. (transitive) To corrupt; to cause to be untrue; corrupted or otherwise impure
    Synonyms: corrupt, lead astray
    How could stopping someone from killing himself or herself "pervert the course of justice"?
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost:
      He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve.
    • 1690, “The Preface to the Reader”, in A Full and True Relation of the Great and Wonderful Revolution That Hapned Lately in the Kingdom of Siam in the East-Indies, London: Randal Taylor, page vi:
      He was a good Proteſtant, but when he fell into the Jeſuits hands, they ſoon perverted him, and made him embrace the Roman Catholick Religion []
    • 2004 April 15, “Morning swoop in hunt for Jodi's killer”, in The Scotsman[1]:
      A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: "We can confirm that a 15-year-old boy has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of Jodi Jones. A 45-year-old has also been arrested in connection with allegations of attempting to pervert the course of justice. A report on this has been sent to the procurator fiscal."
  3. To misapply, misuse, use for a nefarious purpose
    Synonyms: misapply, misuse
    He has perverted his talents to dishonest gain.
  4. to misinterpret designedly.
    Synonym: twist
    pervert one's words
  5. (intransitive) To become perverted; to take the wrong course.
    • c. 1384, Thomas Usk, The Testament of Love
      After that worde, "better is it to dey than lyve false," and al wolde perverted people false reporte make


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

Related terms[edit]




From the Latin verb pervertere "to overturn" or "to subvert".


pervert f

  1. a pervert