Definition of perverse in English:

perverse

Line breaks: per|verse
Pronunciation: /pəˈvəːs
 
/

adjective

1Showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable: Kate’s perverse decision not to cooperate held good
More example sentences
  • So his decision to show the way last night smacked of a perverse desire to prove something to himself and the world.
  • I always have this perverse but burning desire to be scared, and it's hard for me to achieve this goal simply because it's hard for me to get scared.
  • But I have this perverse desire to be shaved with a cut-throat razor - by an expert.
Synonyms
awkward, contrary, difficult, unreasonable, uncooperative, unhelpful, obstructive, disobliging, unaccommodating, troublesome, tiresome, annoying, vexatious, obstreperous, disobedient, unmanageable, uncontrollable, recalcitrant, refractory, rebellious; wilful, headstrong, self-willed, capricious, wayward, cross-grained, stubborn, obstinate, obdurate, pertinacious, mulish, pig-headed, bull-headed, intractable, intransigent, inflexible; Scottishthrawn
informal cussed
British informal bloody-minded, bolshie, stroppy
North American informal balky
rare contrarious
2Contrary to the accepted or expected standard or practice: in two general elections the outcome was quite perverse
More example sentences
  • There is sometimes in us a perverse refusal to accept or to believe in good, a deep-seated, hardened refusal which belittles or despises good.
  • It is perverse because everyone accepts that regular exercise helps reduce the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, obesity and even depression.
  • Now, this standard has a certain perverse appeal, at least if we felt it would be universally followed.
Synonyms
illogical, irrational, unreasonable, contradictory, wrong, wrong-headed, incorrect, irregular, inappropriate, unorthodox
2.1 Law (Of a verdict) against the weight of evidence or the direction of the judge on a point of law.
More example sentences
  • Where, however, a jury reaches a perverse verdict on the evidence, it is open to the Court of Appeal, to reverse that verdict.
  • It could only do so if satisfied that the decision was so perverse that the judge must have fallen into error.
  • It is a perverse verdict and it is a miscarriage of justice in relation to costs.
3Sexually perverted: an evil life dedicated to perverse pleasure films depicting behaviour which seemed perverse or deviant were seen as more suitable for private therapy than for public consumption
More example sentences
  • In this strategy I am thankfully aided by Floyd, who is doubtless the most perverse sexual deviant ever to reside in our fair city of Wellington.
  • And there's a sort of perverse sexiness, a kinky transgression, about wearing make-up with a bikini, like teaming high heels with a swimsuit.
  • Coming to terms with sexuality is not perverse.
Synonyms
perverted, depraved, unnatural, abnormal, deviant, degenerate, immoral, warped, twisted, corrupt; wicked, base, evil
informal kinky, sick, pervy, sicko

Origin

late Middle English (in the sense 'turned away from what is right or good'): from Old French pervers(e), from Latin perversus 'turned about', from the verb pervertere (see pervert).

Derivatives

perversely

adverb
[sentence adverb]: perversely, she felt nearer to tears now than at any other moment in the conversation
More example sentences
  • Are we a life-affirming society or one that perversely courts death?
  • It's perversely easy to misinterpret someone through the written word.
  • Today, she is wearing a plain black ankle-length dress decorated with flowers, perversely projecting a rather saintly look.

perverseness

noun
More example sentences
  • This is partly because he is compassionate about the suffering of ordinary Europeans, but also exasperated by their masochism and perverseness.
  • What distinguishes his recent work is an almost maternal sympathy for the perverseness of the human animal - and the twists in its fate.
  • Such Delphic obscurity was not inspired by mere perverseness.

Definition of perverse in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day guzzle
Pronunciation: ˈgəzəl
verb
eat or drink (something) greedily