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- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
De*prav"i*ty (?), n. [From
Deprave: cf. L. pravitas crookedness, perverseness.]
The state of being depraved or corrupted; a vitiated state of
moral character; general badness of character; wickedness of mind or
heart; absence of religious feeling and principle.
Total depravity. See Original sin,
Syn. -- Corruption; vitiation; wickedness; vice;
contamination; degeneracy. -- Depravity, Depravation,
Corruption. Depravilty is a vitiated state of mind or
feeling; as, the depravity of the human heart;
depravity of public morals. Depravation points to the
act or process of making depraved, and hence to the end thus
reached; as, a gradual depravation of principle; a
depravation of manners, of the heart, etc. Corruption
is the only one of these words which applies to physical substances,
and in reference to these denotes the process by which their
component parts are dissolved. Hence, when figuratively used, it
denotes an utter vitiation of principle or feeling. Depravity
applies only to the mind and heart: we can speak of a depraved
taste, or a corrupt taste; in the first we introduce the
notion that there has been the influence of bad training to pervert;
in the second, that there is a want of true principle to pervert; in
the second, that there is a want of true principles to decide. The
other two words have a wider use: we can speak of the
depravation or the corruption of taste and public
sentiment. Depravity is more or less open; corruption is more
or less disguised in its operations. What is depraved requires
to be reformed; what is corrupt requires to be purified.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
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