per·verse (pər-vûrs, pûrvûrs′)
1. 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.
3. 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).
[Middle English pervers, from Old French, from Latin perversus, past participle of pervertere, to pervert; see PERVERT.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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