c.1300 (trans.), "to turn someone aside from a right religious belief to a false or erroneous one," from O.Fr. pervertir, from L. pervertere "corrupt, turn the wrong way, turn about," from per- "away" + vertere "to turn" (see versus
). The noun is 1661, from the verb. Replaced
native froward, which embodies the same image. The noun is attested from 1661, "one who has forsaken a doctrine or system regarded as true, apostate;" psychological sense of "one who has a perversion of the sexual instinct" is attested from 1897 (Havelock Ellis), originally esp. of homosexuals. Perv, short for sexual pervert (n.), is first recorded 1944.