AskDefine | Define depravity

Dictionary Definition



1 moral perversion; impairment of virtue and moral principles; "the luxury and corruption among the upper classes"; "moral degeneracy followed intellectual degeneration"; "its brothels; its opium parlors; its depravity" [syn: corruption, degeneracy]
2 a corrupt or depraved or degenerate act or practice; "the various turpitudes of modern society" [syn: turpitude]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. 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. 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. In the context of "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!



The state or condition of being depraved
A particular depraved act or trait
Inborn corruption

Related terms


  • "depravity" in Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2007 Microsoft Corporation.
  • "depravity" in the Wordsmyth Dictionary-Thesaurus © Wordsmyth 2002.
  • "depravity" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press 2007.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.
  • Random House Webster's Unabridged Electronic Dictionary, 1987-1996.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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