- The definition of perverse is deliberately behaving badly or improperly, despite knowing that your actions are likely to have bad consequences.
An example of perverse is when you disobey your mother even as you know she is watching you disobey her direct order.
- deviating from what is considered right or good; wrong, improper, etc. or corrupt, wicked, etc.; perverted
- persisting in error or fault; stubbornly contrary
- obstinately disobedient or difficult; intractable
- characterized by or resulting from obstinacy or contrariness
Origin of perverseMiddle English pervers ; from Old French ; from Classical Latin perversus, past participle of pervertere: see pervert
- Contrary to what is right or good; wicked or depraved: a perverse world of sinners.
- a. Characterized by or resulting from willful opposition or resistance to what is right, expected, or reasonable: “Geneticists have the perverse habit of naming genes by what goes wrong when they mutate” (Richard Dawkins).b. Willfully opposing or resisting what is right, expected, or reasonable: an understanding of the text that only a perverse reader could reach.
- Having an effect opposite to what is intended or expected: “Regulation [of child care] to increase quality may have the perverse effect of driving some children into unregulated care” (Kathryn M. Neckerman).
Origin of perverseMiddle English pervers, from Old French, from Latin perversus, past participle of pervertere, to pervert; see pervert.
(comparative more perverse, superlative most perverse)