Definition of perversity in English:



  • 1A deliberate desire to behave in an unreasonable or unacceptable way; contrariness.

    ‘they responded with typical perversity’
    • ‘His persona's conscious contrariness in standing in his own way is a dipstick for measuring the depth of humanity's own perversity.’
    • ‘If some perversity sends you in quest of these, you should be looking in sections of old Christian books.’
    • ‘Critics might think it indulgence in willful perversity.’
    • ‘A troubled narrative of fear, laughter and perversity, the work questions where real life ends and art begins.’
    • ‘The Commissioners ' error was not borne of dishonesty or perversity.’
    • ‘Libertarians are also naïve about the range and perversity of human desires they propose to unleash.’
    • ‘The real perversity is the fact that democratically elected leaders now inhabit a different space from those who elected them.’
    • ‘I became a Marxist out of sheer perversity.’
    • ‘The real enemies in this film are the US Generals, who are displayed in all their war-mongering perversity.’
    • ‘This is a perversity born of moral vanity.’
    • ‘That is the way of human perversity, a perversity especially characteristic among intellectuals.’
    • ‘The other seems to him only an unrighteous actuality or a case of human obstinacy or perversity.’
    • ‘There is no point in pretending a faceless individual in Brussels sent a habitats directive to Ireland through perversity.’
    • ‘Criminals are mutilated by surgery, magic or engineering in a manner that reflects their crime, or merely the perversity of the sentencing Magister.’
    • ‘All we urge in these matters is some sense of balance, some deference to the unregimented perversity of the human spirit.’
    • ‘It had connotations of blameworthy action, perversity or obstinacy.’
    • ‘Yet I keep doing it, entirely for the perversity.’
    • ‘If ever there were any doubt about the perversity of human nature, our present system of taxation is the proof!’
    • ‘We therefore do him the injustice of mistaking his infirmity for perversity.’
    • ‘Many of their performances testify to organizational stupidity; a few testify only to the perversity of fate.’
    contrariness, perverseness, awkwardness, unreasonableness, difficultness, waywardness, capriciousness, wilfulness, refractoriness, stubbornness, obstinacy, obduracy, mulishness, pig-headedness
    unreasonableness, irrationality, illogicality, wrong-headedness, irregularity, inappropriateness
    View synonyms
  • 2The quality of being contrary to accepted standards or practice; unreasonableness.

    ‘the perversity of being able to carry a gun but not purchase a drink’
    • ‘But insane libertarians and promoters of polymorphous perversity have no answer.’
    • ‘When they fell into disuse I kept them out of perversity more than anything else, resisting change.’
    • ‘They use perversity to create a false impression of profundity.’
    • ‘There is a gorgeous perversity in the idea of a woman forced to a blush by the reality of her own naked body.’
    • ‘The services of the Jews were thus secured for the city but safely kept at the periphery, the traditional receptacle of all evil and perversity.’
    • ‘This is not based on a perversity or a dislike or fear of women.’
    • ‘In keeping with the cosmic perversity principle, it is the hardest cases that we find most interesting.’
    • ‘Yet the perversities of slave society bent these otherwise commendable traits into heinous pathologies.’
    • ‘Aside from the perversity of putting the government in charge of teaching the next generation of voters, it distorts housing markets beyond recognition.’
    • ‘In the 19th century, the church denounced this secularisation of moral values as the perversity of liberalism, which it condemned and against which it fought.’
    • ‘The Brasserie was of particular interest because of the perversity of its location: in the windowless basement of the premier glass-and-steel building of the modernist era.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the diaries reveal a later life of flamboyant perversity.’
    • ‘Or worse: lest we fall afoul of future generations of scholars who may claim not only error, but even perversity, in our work.’
    • ‘Its mix of rational deduction and wild credulity, coupled with recklessness and topped with a dollop of sheer perversity, captivated her.’
    • ‘Dr. Moreau attempts to create a higher being, but merely creates sad perversities, parodies of both human and animal.’
    • ‘It was characteristic of his perversity that he left his name upon nothing that he made, with one exception.’
    • ‘Perversity — or would-be originality — alone could declare Jonson's tragedy preferable to his comedy.’
    • ‘It doesn't take long for the scab of small-town wholesomeness to be picked off, revealing the perversity festering underneath.’
    • ‘The basic intimation of his book is a profound sense of loss animating every artificiality and perversity.’
    • ‘And while most people are happy to keep a sensitive condition under wraps, some delight in the perversity of its exploitation.’
  • 3The quality of being sexually perverted.

    • ‘Acts which may in themselves be regarded as either perverse or bordering upon perversity may be considered permissible if they produce better reproductive sex between married couples.’
    • ‘Certainly, it is common xenophobic practice to attribute sexual perversity or illness to another nation or people.’
    • ‘It would be irresponsible to write his mobile-phone number on the wall of a public lavatory, along with an expression of enthusiasm for some barely legal perversity.’
    • ‘The play was virtually unseen for 200 years, cast off for smuttiness and "perversity".’
    • ‘Overall, however, the sexual activity in the play seems to fall not into the categories of gay or straight but into a kind of polymorphous perversity.’
    • ‘It deals frankly, openly, and graphically with sexual perversity and fetishism.’
    • ‘In both movies, there's sexual perversity and violence - although here is where the crucial differences between these two great filmmakers start to show.’
    • ‘I mean I've had no problems with showing a bit of skin, but this sort of fetish strikes me as a disturbing perversity never before attempted.’