Definition of corrupt in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈrʌpt/


1Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain: unscrupulous logging companies assisted by corrupt officials
More example sentences
  • While these benefited, half the money was stolen by corrupt officials.
  • Although the amount paid through companies was a little more, the stories of corrupt officials extracting money from otherwise honest taxpayers put many people off registering.
  • Some borrowed money was pocketed by corrupt officials.
dishonest, dishonourable, unscrupulous, unprincipled, amoral, untrustworthy, underhand, deceitful, double-dealing, disreputable, discreditable, shameful, scandalous;
corruptible, bribable, buyable, venal, fraudulent, swindling, grafting, criminal, lawless, felonious, villainous, nefarious, iniquitous;
Law  malfeasant
informal crooked, shady, tricky, dirty, low-down, rascally, scoundrelly
British informal bent, dodgy
archaic hollow-hearted
1.1Evil or morally depraved: the old corrupt order
More example sentences
  • Just how did a single man sweep a nation with a morally corrupt and evil regime.
  • They began as innocent children and were gradually rendered wicked and evil and absolutely corrupt by the treatment they received at the hands of those they most trusted!
  • By implication, authorities are immoral and culture is correspondingly morally corrupt.
sinful, ungodly, unholy, irreligious, unrighteous, profane, blasphemous, impious, impure;
immoral, depraved, degenerate, reprobate, vice-ridden, perverted, debauched, dissolute, dissipated, intemperate, decadent, profligate, wanton, abandoned, immodest, lustful, lascivious, lewd, lecherous, sordid;
bad, wicked, evil, base, low
informal warped
2(Of a text or a computer database or program) made unreliable by errors or alterations: a progressively corrupt magnetic record is usable nonetheless
More example sentences
  • Though one may quibble at some of O'Brien's choices in this free adaptation, she gives force and clarity to a notoriously corrupt text and rescues the ending from tricksy bathos.
  • The traditional explanation for this was that their texts are extremely corrupt as a result of their reconstruction from memory by a member, or members, of their cast.
  • It has become a corrupt text, with countless additions, cuts and changes ossifying into tradition over the years.
3 archaic (Of organic or inorganic matter) in a state of decay; rotten or putrid: a corrupt and rotting corpse
More example sentences
  • The food and water are so corrupt that a Western traveler is almost guaranteed sickness.
  • A vintner found selling corrupt wine was forced to drink it, then banned from the trade.
  • The first of the non-naturals was the consideration of air: good air encouraged and maintained good health, while corrupt air could throw the humours out of balance and cause illness.


[with object]
1Cause to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain: there is a continuing fear of firms corrupting politicians in the search for contracts
More example sentences
  • I may have an impoverished imagination, but the only explanation that seems to fit is the mundane power of money to corrupt one's beliefs.
  • It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home.
  • All governments and politicians are corrupted by power.
bribe, suborn, buy, buy off, pay off
informal grease someone's palm, give someone a backhander, give someone a sweetener, keep someone sweet, get at, fix, square
British informal nobble
1.1Cause to become morally depraved: he has corrupted the boy
More example sentences
  • Ostensibly, we are protecting minors from being morally corrupted by adults?
  • It is morally devastating and corrupts men by cumulative temptation.
  • On the other hand, the jury may have thought that they could convict only if the book tended to deprave and corrupt the average reader or the majority of its readers.
pervert, debauch, deprave, warp, subvert, make degenerate, lead astray, debase, degrade, defile, sully, infect, influence
archaic demoralize
2Change or debase by making errors or unintentional alterations: a backup copy will be needed if the original copy becomes corrupted Epicurus’s teachings have since been much corrupted
More example sentences
  • We can get angry about it, complaining that the perfect language of our childhood is being corrupted by ignorance and carelessness, but we can't stop it happening.
  • A message entirely without redundancy may contain the maximum amount of information, but cannot be corrected if it is corrupted in some way, because there is no ‘spare’ material to check with.
  • But then Redmond apparently got wind of the survey, and the innocent poll was swiftly corrupted.
alter, falsify, manipulate, tamper with, interfere with, tinker with, doctor, distort;
adulterate, bastardize, dilute, contaminate, taint
informal fiddle with, cook
rare vitiate
3 archaic Infect; contaminate: (as adjective corrupting) the corrupting smell of death



Pronunciation: /kəˈrʌptə/
Example sentences
  • Prosecuting big-time corrupters has proven to be a formidable task even after four years under the reform movement.
  • After that, he may probe other, bigger cases which siphoned off trillions in state funds, with most of the money since having been stashed abroad by the corrupters.
  • Where's the accountability for these corrupters?


Pronunciation: /kəˌrʌptəˈbɪləti/
Example sentences
  • ‘The people’ do not rule; their elected representatives actually do so, and with widely varying degrees of potency, efficiency, honesty or corruptibility.
  • This sorrowful issue gave rise to some sternness it must be said, as his Lordship's minor intellect and obvious corruptibility had brought shame on the entire legal profession.
  • It's hard to make a good film noir if you're uncomfortable with your audience's corruptibility.


Pronunciation: /kəˈrʌptəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible.
  • And perhaps even forgotten, for what use is a corruptible and degradable original when digital copies can be searched and cloned at the click of a mouse?
  • What's worse, many firms just don't pay, especially where poor bankruptcy laws and corruptible courts prevent the seizure of debtors' assets.


Pronunciation: /kəˈrʌptɪv/
Example sentences
  • Nothing is gained, however, by calling melodrama, or melodramatic violence, morally corruptive.
  • Power is not inherently virtuous (and power is not inherently corruptive, either).
  • By contrast, there is much evidence that the post-1913 system has been deeply corruptive.


Example sentences
  • Every elector who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, entertainment, or provision also commits the offence of treating.
  • If a university had been caught taking money from a private school in exchange for lowering the entrance criteria for its pupils, the government would have accused it, quite rightly, of behaving corruptly and unfairly.
  • He also stressed that the money - which represents a fraction of his estimated $1.4 billion fortune - had been earned legitimately through business, not corruptly in office.


Pronunciation: /kəˈrʌptnəs/
Example sentences
  • This appears to be the moment to finally establish in everyone's mind the deep fraudulence and corruptness of his various enterprises.
  • Had he changed his mind about the administration's alleged corruptness?
  • Their behaviour - and apparently the travel fraud is spread across different political parties - speaks of moral corruptness.


Middle English: from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpere 'mar, bribe, destroy', from cor- 'altogether' + rumpere 'to break'.

  • Corrupt comes from Latin corrumpere ‘mar, bribe, destroy’, from cor- ‘altogether’ and rumpere ‘to break’. Also from rumpere are disrupt (Late Middle English) ‘break apart’; eruption (Late Middle English) a breaking out; interrupt (Late Middle English) ‘to break between’. See words at rut

Words that rhyme with corrupt

abrupt, disrupt, erupt, interrupt, irrupt

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cor|rupt

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