Definition of reprobate in English:



  • 1An unprincipled person (often used humorously or affectionately)

    • ‘When the reprobates returned to beg forgiveness, Cecily pointedly asked Algernon why he had pretended to be Ernest.’
    • ‘At odds with the establishment, he was painted as a reprobate - he did marry 27 nightclub dancers - but Ray sees him as a hero.’
    • ‘He spent his teenage years in Lafayette, Indiana, an angsty reprobate and hardened juvenile delinquent.’
    • ‘I would tell you to bring her along, but the reprobates aren't fond of kids.’
    • ‘Nevertheless suspicion bred credulity, and society's reprobates could not be presumed unavailable for the purposes of prison plotters.’
    • ‘If the pub had not been the favoured haunt of the living dead, a pasty faced bunch of assorted reprobates and alcoholics, he would have quite liked it.’
    • ‘This place started promisingly, but now they let too many reprobates in.’
    • ‘The lawless reprobate was condoned by the vices of the lawgivers: condoned, that is, for misdeeds short of murder.’
    • ‘They might be pirates, they might be reprobates, they might have picked the pockets of poor bluesmen and ignorant English kids, but at least they were dedicated to music.’
    • ‘Things actually have gotten better, and not just because we are no longer pictured exclusively as wretched suicides and guilt-ridden reprobates.’
    • ‘After all, as a conservative of fairly recent vintage, I've seen how easy it is for liberals, assisted by a compliant press, to cast ideological foes as moral reprobates and thus avoid engaging their ideas.’
    • ‘I began to stare at him as if he were a reprobate, but I couldn't believe it.’
    • ‘The church court, in other words, did not search for and destroy sexual reprobates, rather it relied on the active participation of the community.’
    • ‘By the end of the film, both the Union troops and the scroungy squad of reprobates Dundee has mustered look toward Tyreen for leadership.’
    • ‘Such observations are, of course, true and we economists often deserve such a back-of-the-hand treatment, even by sinners and reprobates from other social science disciplines.’
    • ‘The woman is not only dominated, but reprobate, not only impotent, but cursed.’
    • ‘They're all hypocrites, liars and reprobates.’
    • ‘From politicians to con artists, rapists to flesh peddling pornographers, we all have a certain visual reference point for the redolent and the reprobate.’
    • ‘Although not exactly a premier stopping point, it does serve as a dumping ground for the reprobates of the universe.’
    • ‘Later, when he's brought to her attention for poaching game birds on her property, she devises a very unique punishment for the old reprobate.’
    rogue, rascal, scoundrel, good-for-nothing, villain, wretch, unprincipled person, rake, profligate, degenerate, debauchee, libertine
    troublemaker, mischief-maker, wrongdoer, evil-doer, transgressor, sinner
    roué, vaurien
    scallywag, bad egg
    scofflaw, hellion
    rotter, bounder
    cad, ne'er-do-well
    miscreant, blackguard, knave, rapscallion, varlet, wastrel, rakehell, scapegrace
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  • 2Christian Theology
    archaic (especially in Calvinism) a sinner who is not of the elect and is predestined to damnation.

    • ‘Those who were chosen by God were no better than reprobates except that by his irresistible grace the elect could be brought to hate their sin, as Sir Walter does.’
    • ‘And this is why the greatest effort of the Holy Parish of the Divinity of Christ has been towards the forcible conversion and Spiritual Salvation of these most hated of reprobates.’


  • 1Unprincipled (often used as a humorous or affectionate reproach)

    ‘a long-missed old reprobate drinking comrade’
    • ‘He almost becomes one of the family, cheerfully going out gambling with her dopey, reprobate nephew.’
    • ‘This is stolen from his cottage by the squire's reprobate son Dunstan Cass, who disappears.’
    • ‘There's the drunken reprobate attorney and confidant, Harry Rex.’
    • ‘Freudo, on the other hand, is determined to be a more serious, sensual escape behind the seemingly sanguine outer layer of society and into its reprobate nether regions.’
    • ‘In each case, while Joe seems to be the catalyst, we soon see that it is the internal flaws that each individual carries that result in their reprobate behavior.’
    • ‘The first half of the film consists of SS officers observing potential recruits in all manner of borderline reprobate acts.’
    • ‘There is a further hint that bustle and business are the properties of the older, reprobate drama.’
    • ‘So it's only natural that when they hit too close to home, when they hold a mirror up to the panting demographic and showcase people's reprobate and mercenary nature, the target should retaliate.’
    • ‘Sometimes, misguided by a thread or finger, a digital doll finds itself wandering over to the dark side of show business and falling under the spell of the reprobate members of the manipulated.’
    unprincipled, roguish, bad, wicked, rakish, shameless, immoral, profligate, degenerate, dissipated, debauched, depraved, corrupt
    incorrigible, hardened, unregenerate
    scoundrelly, rascally
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  • 2Christian Theology
    archaic (in Calvinism) predestined to damnation.


  • Express or feel disapproval of.

    ‘his neighbors reprobated his method of proceeding’
    • ‘Instead, she foregrounds how recent novels have been devoted to recommending or reprobating what she calls the ‘systems of philosophy or politics which have raised so much ferment of late years’.’
    criticize, condemn, censure, denounce, express strong disapproval of
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Late Middle English (as a verb): from Latin reprobat- disapproved from the verb reprobare, from re- (expressing reversal) + probare approve.