One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Wickedness or dishonesty.
- ‘‘She does not accept red envelopes or construction kickbacks, indeed, never commits any form of improbity,’ he said.’
- ‘It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity.’
- ‘The ruling party has distorted the history of the liberation struggle in this country beyond fiction, bigotry and improbity.’
Late 16th century: from Latin improbitas, from improbus ‘wicked’, from in- ‘not’ + probus ‘good’. Compare with probity.
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