Definition of corrupt in English:



  • 1Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

    ‘unscrupulous logging companies assisted by corrupt officials’
    • ‘‘There's an assumption that our money is dirty and corrupt,’ he said.’
    • ‘One is forced to believe in rumours of corrupt officials selling quality produce to private shops for personal gain.’
    • ‘Contractors in connivance with corrupt officials do shoddy work deliberately, so that they get a fresh contract soon for the job.’
    • ‘The Review, meanwhile, was uncovering the city's underworld, its gangsters and corrupt officials, its brutality and greed.’
    • ‘Dirty money flowing from abroad is criminal, corrupt, or commercially tax-evading at its source.’
    • ‘I say we should ban the corrupt corporate money.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All we have noticed was that local syndicates were using corrupt government officials to defraud the state.’
    • ‘They are seen (because they are) as corrupt officials using their elevated social status for political gain.’
    • ‘I call on people to report any corrupt and illegal conduct concerning an election.’
    • ‘This racketeering ring is aided and abetted by some corrupt police and licensing officials buttressed by some crooked bank employees.’
    • ‘It has to do with the corrupt misuse of big money to subvert democracy.’
    • ‘The inspection is aimed at helping curb smuggling and undervaluation practices and to nab corrupt customs officials.’
    • ‘It is feared that it would only serve as another slush fund for corrupt government officials and politicians.’
    • ‘I would prefer instead to create my own small business with the money that would otherwise go into the pockets of corrupt officials.’
    • ‘Unless one of the parties gives evidence, it is a Herculean task to prove that the receipt of money was for a corrupt purpose.’
    • ‘Some borrowed money was pocketed by corrupt officials.’
    • ‘I have cautioned him in the past that he could face serious, personal harm if he continued with his mission to expose illicit crime networks and corrupt official behaviour.’
    • ‘While these benefited, half the money was stolen by corrupt officials.’
    • ‘Attempts to eradicate migration of young people for work will increase their reliance on corrupt officials and use of clandestine routes’
    dishonest, dishonourable, unscrupulous, unprincipled, amoral, untrustworthy, underhand, deceitful, double-dealing, disreputable, discreditable, shameful, scandalous
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    1. 1.1Evil or morally depraved.
      ‘the old corrupt order’
      • ‘Along with privilege and education, leisure brings choices, including those deemed by moralists to be evil or corrupt.’
      • ‘He finds them incompatible; one is good, right, and pure, the other corrupt, evil, and hypocritical.’
      • ‘Audiences had never before seen anything so noisy, so gritty, so morally corrupt - and they attended in droves.’
      • ‘It is a morally corrupt institution run by a criminal bureaucracy.’
      • ‘It has led us to ruin; it is morally corrupt and its credibility is shot to pieces.’
      • ‘I hope so, as it is clearly morally corrupt to give company heads millions of pounds when they have overseen a period of business resulting in job losses and cutbacks.’
      • ‘Exposure to extreme violence turns them into machines driven by the will to survive in a corrupt and morally decadent world.’
      • ‘It features a group of con artists with a modicum of honour: they only steal from the greedy and the morally corrupt.’
      • ‘It's not always a dispute between right and wrong or angels and devils; it's sometimes between two evils, within the corrupt core itself.’
      • ‘It seems to me that we have pretty wisely recognized, over time, that in fact a person's ostensible theology tells us pretty little about how corrupt or evil he's going to be.’
      • ‘Just how did a single man sweep a nation with a morally corrupt and evil regime.’
      • ‘There's something morally corrupt about that.’
      • ‘It's a quality many journalists would resist, but it is a moral position as valid as any other, and is only a weakness when applied to the evil and corrupt.’
      • ‘I, for the most part, think they are all evil, lying, corrupt individuals.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘With its rhetorical poses and elaborate decoration, it was often criticised by later generations, who not only considered it bad, but also morally corrupt.’
      • ‘By implication, authorities are immoral and culture is correspondingly morally corrupt.’
      • ‘The group members confront the film industry types about their rotten films and corrupt lives.’
      • ‘Well, he an astonishing man - an astonishingly corrupt and evil man.’
      • ‘Yet the main purpose of the book is to tackle perennial ethical conundrums: How do we handle prosperity without becoming morally corrupt?’
      sinful, ungodly, unholy, irreligious, unrighteous, profane, blasphemous, impious, impure
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  • 2(of a text or a computer database or program) made unreliable by errors or alterations.

    ‘a progressively corrupt magnetic record is usable nonetheless’
    • ‘This is most amusing and shows how captive the Revisers are to their corrupt text.’
    • ‘Only corrupt manuscripts can produce so many departures.’
    • ‘Those who wrote the corrupt manuscripts had no trouble with the other commandments shown here.’
    • ‘The text is believed to be corrupt, the manuscript tradition poor, and the editor on a tea-break.’
    • ‘The text is corrupt and broken, and the original books, apparently eight in number, have a disturbed sequence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The doctrine is greatly harmed here by the corrupt text.’
    • ‘Although the Arabic text is slightly corrupt at both places where this person's name is mentioned, that is the only plausible way to read the name.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It has become a corrupt text, with countless additions, cuts and changes ossifying into tradition over the years.’
  • 3archaic (of organic or inorganic matter) in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.

    ‘a corrupt and rotting corpse’
    • ‘The food and water are so corrupt that a Western traveler is almost guaranteed sickness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the cell divides, the corrupt protein is contained in both daughter cells, where it seeds the process again.’
    • ‘Attitudes about nature as backdrop, commodity, enemy have been dug out and re-animated as if they were not ancient corpses moldering and corrupt.’
    • ‘A vintner found selling corrupt wine was forced to drink it, then banned from the trade.’


  • 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’
    • ‘Macbeth, honest and humble, was corrupted by the powers of fortune.’
    • ‘When you have so many bureaucrats and human beings corrupted by money, the problems pile up.’
    • ‘The author's focus on how money corrupts the political process is dead right, of course, but it's hardly original.’
    • ‘All three deal with the way money corrupts people, but more specifically, how every transaction in life is based on money and how the intersection of money and personal relationships destroys or, at very best, warps everyone's life.’
    • ‘The masses are too immersed in suspicions that money has corrupted sports beyond hope.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I can look to my brother to see how the lust for that money can corrupt an entire personality.’
    • ‘Far from money corrupting our appreciation of art, it often opens up important questions of quality and critical esteem.’
    • ‘All governments and politicians are corrupted by power.’
    • ‘Money corrupts the process, of course, but voters have let that happen, let rich people and organizations have an influence on the process that ordinary folks can't match.’
    • ‘It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home.’
    • ‘Essentially it was a modern and very predictable parable about - yes you've guessed it - how the beautiful game has been corrupted by money.’
    • ‘While I agree that both parties are almost hopelessly corrupted by corporate money and power, the hope for a viable third party here is still very slim.’
    • ‘To avoid being corrupted by money in this manner, we simply remove it from the equation.’
    • ‘He was a frugal man himself and he feared that the money would corrupt both his family and the strict religious principles of his regime.’
    • ‘Congress itself saw that the money flow needed to be stemmed, for the money was corrupting the process.’
    • ‘And afterwards I became more like I was before I'd been corrupted by all that money and excess.’
    • ‘As a celebrity, I became corrupted by sex and money.’
    • ‘Both are corrupted by corporate money almost beyond redemption.’
    • ‘Thomsby's concerns weren't based solely on his fear that power would corrupt most individuals, although that was a very real possibility.’
    bribe, suborn, buy, buy off, pay off
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    1. 1.1Cause to become morally depraved.
      ‘he has corrupted the boy’
      • ‘But they are increasing their power, slowly corrupting the very foundations of the world and even the hearts of men.’
      • ‘We cannot be trusted with domination, becoming too easily corrupted by its power and too often succumbing to repression in defending it.’
      • ‘Inevitably power will corrupt its possessor - but some may resist its corrupting effect for longer than others.’
      • ‘Having power in the government corrupted them.’
      • ‘It is morally devastating and corrupts men by cumulative temptation.’
      • ‘Outside forces like the press and media could corrupt the young boy, and John wished his son to have the most normal of childhoods, in light of the circumstances.’
      • ‘This Ring, ‘the Ring to rule them all’, had the power to corrupt any person who possessed it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Here's hoping fame doesn't corrupt them, because these boys are bound to go very far indeed.’
      • ‘There's no way you'll hear me saying, ‘dishonesty at any level corrupts the individual’, or find me stalking birds around the garden.’
      • ‘The moral consideration of Animal Farm is that power corrupts people.’
      • ‘Media companies are ruining democracy and corrupting our public life.’
      • ‘Further, he is a wrongdoer in corrupting the young.’
      • ‘This power soon corrupted them and people were put to death for daring to disobey the laws.’
      • ‘It is interesting how world power has corrupted this country.’
      • ‘Her acts of horror and blasphemy indicate she became corrupted by the evil power.’
      • ‘It can become corrupted by power and privilege.’
      • ‘Ostensibly, we are protecting minors from being morally corrupted by adults?’
      • ‘I was drawn astray by the promise of power, and it corrupted my poor mind.’
      • ‘This is bad, for they are already being corrupted by their own power and I fear I'm now powerless to resist - that's why I'm cowering away in this place.’
      pervert, debauch, deprave, warp, subvert, make degenerate, lead astray, debase, degrade, defile, sully, infect, influence
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  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The process of market research has been corrupted by paid research.’
    • ‘As we speak, Esperanto is being corrupted by upstart languages.’
    • ‘Third, people can betray the work that they have been given by doing it poorly or dishonestly and corrupting the final product.’
    • ‘But then Redmond apparently got wind of the survey, and the innocent poll was swiftly corrupted.’
    • ‘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.’
    alter, falsify, manipulate, tamper with, interfere with, tinker with, doctor, distort
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  • 3archaic Infect; contaminate.

    ‘the corrupting smell of death’


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