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per·verse (pər-vûrs, pûrvûrs)
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adj.
1. Contrary to what is right or good; wicked or depraved: a perverse world of sinners.
2.
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.]

per·versely adv.
per·verseness n.

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

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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