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[tur-pi-tood, -tyood] /ˈtɜr pɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/
vile, shameful, or base character; depravity.
a vile or depraved act.
Origin of turpitude
1480-90; < Latin turpitūdō, equivalent to turpi(s) base, vile + -tūdō -tude
1. wickedness, vice, vileness, wrongdoing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for turpitude
Historical Examples
  • There can be no turpitude under the sun in which the wretch doesnt wallow.

  • The moral quality of the act is the same; the difference is wholly in the degree of turpitude.

    Usury Calvin Elliott
  • With him Nero could always throw off the mask, and display the depths of his own turpitude.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • I know the turpitude of these crows, and their lack of respect for merit and birth.

    The Mesmerist's Victim Alexandre Dumas
  • Be comforted: your crime, morally or religiously considered, has no very deep dye of turpitude.

    Life of Johnson James Boswell
  • The whole earth seemed to him to be made of glass to reveal his turpitude.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • Mrs. Fox-Moore spoke as though detecting an additional proof of turpitude.

    The Convert Elizabeth Robins
  • From the turpitude of her daughter's conduct, she proceeded to its consequences.

    Self-control Mary Brunton
  • For theirs are not spectacles of turpitude, as that Father justly calls those of his Time.

  • There was an unlimited future for misery, ignorance, turpitude.

    Recollections and Impressions Octavius Brooks Frothingham
British Dictionary definitions for turpitude


base character or action; depravity
Word Origin
C15: from Latin turpitūdō ugliness, from turpis base
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for turpitude

"depravity, infamy," late 15c., from Middle French turpitude (early 15c.), from Latin turpitudinem (nominative turpitudo) "baseness," from turpis "vile, ugly, base, shameful," used in both the moral and the physical senses; of unknown origin. Perhaps originally "what one turns away from" (cf. Latin trepit "he turns").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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