from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Depravity; baseness.
  • noun A base act.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Inherent baseness or vileness; shameful wickedness; depravity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Inherent baseness or vileness of principle, words, or actions; shameful wickedness; depravity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Inherent baseness, depravity or wickedness; corruptness and evilness.
  • noun An act evident of such a depravity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a corrupt or depraved or degenerate act or practice


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin turpitūdō, from turpis, shameful.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin turpitūdō ("baseness, infamy"), from turpis ("foul, base").


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  • Here there has just taken place a "raid" rivalling in turpitude and impudence the famous deed of Bennett Young.

    Echoes of the Week 1865

  • Well they've certainly changed enormously — I mean, people can live together now without it being called moral turpitude, which is a big step.

    ‘I’m Always In Love’ 2009

  • Going further into the letter to Sheen's attorneys, Bloom also explained the term "moral turpitude."

    Breaking News: CBS News 2011

  • Neither "turpitude" nor "quotidian" get a mention in my little English-French dictionary.

    Phyllis Stine Gets a Job! 1999

  • Neither "turpitude" nor "quotidian" get a mention in my little English-French dictionary.

    Phyllis Stine Gets a Job! 1999

  • In fact, except Oliver Cromwell, King William, a few gentlemen who had the misfortune to be executed or exiled for high treason, and every dissenting minister that he has or can find occasion to notice, there are hardly any persons mentioned who are not stigmatized as knaves or fools, differing only in degrees of "turpitude" and "imbecility".

    Famous Reviews R. Brimley Johnson 1899

  • When we come to declaring opinions that are, however foolishly and unreasonably, associated with pain and even a kind of turpitude in the minds of those who strongly object to them, then some of our most powerful sympathies are naturally engaged.

    On Compromise John Morley 1880

  • Yet that's exactly what the federal government is trying to do, citing his record and "turpitude" as the legal grounds on which he should be removed from the country. - Home Page Andrew Chung 2011

  • For, as Aristotle says rightly, the moving of laughter is a fault in comedy, a kind of turpitude that depraves some part of a man's nature without a disease.

    Discoveries Made Upon Men and Matter and Some Poems Ben Jonson 1605

  • In the 1940s, the Court ruled that the right to procreate is a fundamental right and declared unconstitutional an Oklahoma law that required the sterilization of those convicted three times of crimes involving moral turpitude.

    The Conservative Assault on the Constitution Erwin Chemerinsky 2010


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  • Brings to mind turpentine.

    March 27, 2007

  • inherent baseness

    September 16, 2007

  • typically paired with moral.

    September 18, 2007

  • an impressive sounding word, perfect for the passing of (superior) judgement, especially in the combination moral turpitude

    March 19, 2008

  • And for some reason always associated in my mind with torpor as if one state somehow leads to the other. Perhaps in a way they do – to quote my mother, 'The Devil always finds work for idle hands.'

    March 19, 2008

  • "So then: these were Srenki, men whose virtue was the excess of vice, who with leaden zest performed quintessential evil and so redeemed their fellows from turpitude."

    Jack Vance, The Domains of Koryphon

    August 2, 2008