Although most often used to refer to some sort of psychological corruption or abnormal behavior (usually sexual), the word perversion can actually refer to anything that is used for a distorted or wrong purpose.

The Latin word pervertere, which means “turn around,” serves as the basis for the noun perversion, suggesting something that is contrary to something else. The word developed a religious meaning in the 15th century, when it came to be used to refer to any distortion of church doctrine. Around 1700, the word developed a secular meaning, denoting what was considered deviant sexual behavior — often any sexual behavior other than that used to reproduce.

Definitions of perversion
  1. noun

    the action of perverting something (turning it to a wrong use)

    “it was a
    perversion of justice”
    see moresee less

    type of:

    actus reus, misconduct, wrongdoing, wrongful conduct

    activity that transgresses moral or civil law

  2. noun

    an aberrant sexual practice;

    sexual perversion
    see moresee less


    show 7 types…
    hide 7 types…

    abnormal sexual activity
    exhibitionism, immodesty

    the perverse act of exposing and attracting attention to your own genitals
    fetichism, fetishism

    sexual arousal or gratification resulting from handling a fetish (or a specific part of the body other than the sexual organs)
    paedophilia, pedophilia

    a sexual attraction to children

    a perversion in which a person receives sexual gratification from seeing the genitalia of others or witnessing others’ sexual behavior
    zoophilia, zoophilism

    a sexual attraction to animals
    paederasty, pederasty

    sexual relations between a man and a boy (usually anal intercourse with the boy as a passive partner)
    type of:

    sex, sex activity, sexual activity, sexual practice

    activities associated with sexual intercourse

  3. noun

    a curve that reverses the direction of something

    “the tendrils of the plant exhibited
    perversion also shows up in kinky telephone cords”
    see moresee less

    type of:

    curve, curved shape

    the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes

Word Family