Definition of perversion in US English:



  • 1The alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.

    ‘a scandalous perversion of the law’
    ‘all great evil is the perversion of a good’
    • ‘The most compelling argument, and the issue at the heart of the liberal perversion of liberalism, is in the area of humanitarianism.’
    • ‘Pure theory is too vulnerable to corruption and perversion at the hands of opportunists.’
    • ‘I have evidence of perjury and the perversion of the course of justice and misfeasance in public office.’
    • ‘This is an outrageous perversion of the long-standing law that the creator has the exclusive right to license his work.’
    • ‘No nation which had surrendered these powers to a foreign entity could, by any perversion of language, be described as sovereign.’
    • ‘Our special report on perversion of the language is coming right up.’
    • ‘The founding fathers would have had to pop a lot of pills to conceive of this perversion of the Bill of Rights.’
    • ‘Anybody having experienced the effects of war firsthand will understand the deceit and perversion in calling these games a reflection of global events.’
    • ‘Our democracy is a threat to their perversion of a religion.’
    • ‘If we cannot establish first that there are distortions and perversions, then this fundamental project is a non-starter.’
    • ‘This perversion of democratic competition is reflected in the development of the political parties and their programmes.’
    • ‘Well, your Honours, the allegation was section 319 of the Crimes Act, perversion of the course of justice.’
    • ‘And that can develop out of any tradition, can develop out of any religion, or perversion.’
    • ‘But they were then arrested for perversion of justice.’
    • ‘Politics is about human beings with their frailties and perversions and distortions or perception, who prioritise things according to their conviction.’
    • ‘The perversion of the movie is ingenious, and yet so simple.’
    • ‘This type of political perversion of the law was well known during Hitler's fascist dictatorship.’
    • ‘When are the Chairman and governors of the BBC going to wake up their consciences and address this scandalous perversion of public service broadcasting?’
    • ‘There is no mendacity, equivocation or perversion of truth.’
    • ‘In writing about the history of American foreign policy, one must try to avoid perpetuating distortions and perversions of language.’
    distortion, misrepresentation, falsification, travesty, misinterpretation, misconstruction, twisting, corruption, subversion, misuse, misapplication, debasement
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  • 2Sexual behavior or desire that is considered abnormal or unacceptable.

    • ‘To be honest, I'm often left wondering what precisely he thinks is so new about sexual perversion and the attempt to rationalize it.’
    • ‘They have accused me of supporting the sin of sexual perversion.’
    • ‘But I'm also an old newspaper reporter who, in my time, covered some hideous stories of perversion.’
    • ‘Together they set off on a road trip of mass murder, mental and physical torture and sexual perversion.’
    • ‘In fact, Greg was outraged that Martin supported my efforts in trying to understand his - Martin's - sexual perversions.’
    • ‘Western affluence has also become the occasion for moral decline in general and the growth of sexual perversion in particular.’
    • ‘Don't write about sexual perversion or a too realistic presentation of sex, as these are subjects from which most readers shrink in disgust.’
    • ‘From them we learn how sexual perversion attained stability by being placed in a racial and/or gendered discourse.’
    • ‘The explicit references to sexual perversions are not the best thing about the book, although they don't really do it much harm.’
    • ‘One might say that celibacy has become the last sexual perversion in America.’
    • ‘Both men also attack the respective defendants by alluding to unproven sexual perversions.’
    • ‘It revealed a disgusting and shocking obsession with sexual perversion involving young female children.’
    • ‘In the revised Code, only sexual perversion and venereal disease remained totally forbidden.’
    • ‘I don't know why perversions and sexual violence have gone up so sharply here.’
    • ‘In the sessions with his supervising therapist, he links the origins of his perversion to his early sexual exposure to his younger sister.’
    • ‘He was a man who lived for his own tastes and comforts, and his sexual perversions.’
    • ‘Over the years psychologists have linked this serious state of the mind to such criminal conduct as rape and other sexual perversions.’
    • ‘But can those matters be set to one side to take another look at sexuality and perversions?’
    • ‘It seemed to me royals were always in on some kind of scandal, partner swapping, infidelity, one sexual perversion after another.’
    • ‘This is no longer a tale of tragically misguided love, but of sexual perversion and an unforgiveable abuse of power.’
    deviance, deviancy, deviation
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Late Middle English: from Latin perversio(n-), from the verb pervertere ‘turn about’ (see pervert).