Perverse refers to behavior or actions that go against what is considered normal, moral, or reasonable, often in a stubborn or deliberate manner.


US English

UK English

See Synonyms, Antonyms and Usage

Excerpts from News Articles

The use of ferries and barges appears to be further into the future as none have been purchased yet, with a government source saying those plans were part of the "direction of travel." Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab called barges "one possible option", telling Sky News that the prospect of hotel accommodation was a " perverse incentive" to make the dangerous Channel crossing.

Logo 2023-03-30 CGTN

In an interview in English newspaper The Telegraph last week, former Scotland international Blain was said to have described the allegations as “ perverse ,” adding that he was “never offered a face-to-face interview,” to present his own evidence.

Logo 2023-04-02 CNN News

However, much like the film, it hides something much less comforting at its heart. Like the central protagonists’ relationship, Phantom Thread ’s music is sweet, eccentric and worrying, a work of troubling beauty that’s the closest you’ll get to hearing Bernard Hermann score a classic romance with a perverse twist. And if you’re yearning for more Greenwood, seek out his scores for Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here (2017), Pablo Larraín’s Spencer, and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog.

Logo 2023-04-03 EURO News

Like most drug users, cable news viewers have learned to titrate their dose before suffering the insulin shock of boredom that overwhelmed so many members of the commentariat this week. However many viewers suffered through all the coverage, there can’t be many aside from the journalists who had to tune in for their jobs or their own perverse addiction, so keep your pity in reserve. The most popular shows on cable news rarely get more than 3.3 million viewers a night.

Logo 2023-04-06 Politico

The constant push and pull of Shiv, Roman and Kendall against their father seemed like it could and would go on forever — in fact, that's part of what it means for him to always win. That's why, in a perverse way, his winning made them who they were. It kept them from having to build lives of their own away from him or take responsibility for their own identities.

Logo 2023-04-09 NPR

“ It all started with Delfina. There's a chicness but a perversity to the way she twists FENDI, which is what I love. ” Kim Jones

Logo 2023-04-09 CNN News

Genuine cheese-infused cocktail recipes tend to be complicated and perversely technical – “The liqueur is made by delicately cooking the cheese with verjus, sugar, and a spirit via sous vide” – and the ingredients are often maddeningly specific. I decided it might be worth trying some of the most approachable ones I could find. Many still called for particular local cheeses and designer gins. Much substitution was required.

Logo 2023-04-10 The Guardian

These rules have a particularly perverse impact on Northern Ireland’s most compromise-minded party, Alliance, which refuses to define itself as either British unionist or Irish nationalist — and is treated as a power-sharing irrelevance as a result.

Logo 2023-04-11 Politico

Attorney Roberta Kaplan said in a letter to the trial judge that it was “somewhat perverse ” for Trump to claim the trial must be delayed because of publicity when “so much of the publicity he complains about has been driven by his own incendiary statements.”

Logo 2023-04-12 Associated Press

I took a certain amount of comfort in being Amitriptyline Girl. It was perversely soothing to think that my migraines were my own neuroses manifested. I cultivated a sense of humor about my migraines to other people, but I was never apathetic about it. When I was alone, I felt sorry for myself, furious, and jealous of other people who I saw as healthier than me.

Logo 2023-04-12 Literary Hub

“If anything, it is somewhat perverse for Trump to seek a continuance in these proceedings based on the recent indictment when so much of the publicity he complains about has been driven by his own incendiary statements,” wrote Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan.

Logo 2023-04-12 Politico

A Black boy in love with white girls. If you don’t think about it too much, it’s amusing, especially if you’re white. After all, a Black man is writing, so you’re at liberty to enjoy the premise, and, more perversely , to have validated an unspeakable, inevitable and “natural” aesthetic superiority that transubstantiates white people into beings of worship. If you’re Black, the smile is tight. You think, Danger! Brotha, no! Please don’t feed them that.

Logo 2023-04-13 The Guardian

Dr Beverly Mantle is the shy moral introvert, whose love affair with a patient triggers a psychic unravelling between the sisters, while Elliot is a modern mad scientist, hungry for meat, drugs, conflict, godliness, sex. What could come off as a soapy trick, in Weisz’s Oscar-winning hands becomes camply surreal, uncanny, seductive, a little perverse – joy.

Logo 2023-04-16 The Guardian

The two Sputnik satellites of 1957 were themselves of little military significance, and the test missile that launched them was too primitive for military deployment, but Khrushchev claimed that long-range missiles were rolling off the assembly line “like sausages,” a bluff that allowed President Eisenhower’s opponents—and nervous Europeans—to perceive a “missile gap.” Khrushchev in turn tried to capitalize on the apparent gap in a series of crises, but his adventurous policy only provoked perverse reactions in China, the United States, and Europe that undermined his own political support at home.

“If anything, it is somewhat perverse for Trump to seek a continuance in these proceedings based on the recent indictment when so much of the publicity he complains about has been driven by his own incendiary statements,” Kaplan wrote.

Logo 2023-04-17 The Washington Post

Novelist Leïla Slimani, chair of the judges for this year’s prize, said the books on the list were “bold, subversive, nicely perverse ”.

Logo 2023-04-18 The Guardian

But the American magazine is in a state of decay. Now known mostly as brands, once sumptuous print publications exist primarily as websites or YouTube channels, hosts for generic scribblings, the ever-ubiquitous “take.” Meanwhile, a thousand Substacks bloom, some of them very good, with writers in the emancipated state of being paid directly by their readers. Yet even in this atomized, editorless landscape, perverse incentives apply. Are you thirsty for another post about cancel culture or wokeness? Me neither. Yet culture war still largely rules the day.

Logo 2023-04-18 The Washington Post

“Virginia could be paying for Maryland commuters who, for 2022 and perhaps the first four months of 2023, had reported to the office once a month. That’s an entirely possible outcome based on the fine print, as I see it,” he added, “and that would be perverse .”

Logo 2023-04-19 The Washington Post

But Aster has something far more personal and, frankly, less interesting in mind for his title character: As Beau sets off to make good on his promise to visit his mother, Mona (played as a younger woman by Zoe Lister-Jones, then by a terrifying Patti LuPone), the roots of his distress come into clearer, if still somewhat hazy, focus. He encounters an almost perversely helpful suburban couple named Roger and Grace (Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan), who insist that he stay in the bedroom of their angry teenage daughter (a superbly bristling Kylie Rogers); he crosses paths with an ethereal wood sprite (Hayley Squires), who turns out to be a member of a hilariously pseudo-experimental theater troupe; he revisits his boundary-challenged boyhood with his single mother, his first kiss with a headstrong girl (Julia Antonelli) and his grating suspicions about his father’s death.

Logo 2023-04-19 The Washington Post

This once little-known actor may well be a calculating opportunist cashing in – accumulating more than £1 million so far – on a warped trend. Racking up nearly 13 million followers, the fellow (yes, ‘his’, ‘he’, ‘fellow’; go ahead, Met, arrest me) is doing terribly well from pageantry watched nearly a billion times online – many can’t-look-away views, as in my case, drawn for being so horrific. In a way, then, you can’t blame the guy. You can blame companies perversely attaching themselves to an influencer who offends a large proportion of their customers.

Logo 2023-04-19 The Spectator

Revelations that authorities knew this to be false in early 2021, means there was little medical justification either. This makes the public policy scientifically perverse and ethically immoral. Social media Big Tech made it worse by actively censoring, shadow-banning, downgrading and slapping labels from self-identifying fact-checkers better described as misinformers and disinformers.

Logo 2023-04-19 The Spectator

He continued his ‘broken Britain’ theme by naming the public services allegedly wrecked by Tory incompetence. ‘Roads! Trains! The NHS! The asylum system! Policing! Mental health provision!… The Tories have broken them all.’ As he harrumphed and snorted through his list he was wildly cheered by his backbenchers. Then he delivered a peal of Wagnerian anguish. ‘Why, everywhere you look, does nothing seem to work at all?’ More ecstasies from his MPs. But not every voter shares Labour’s perverse lust for ruin.

Logo 2023-04-19 The Spectator

On the face of it, this definition seems reasonable. We all imagine terrorist attacks as hurting or killing people. Perhaps we also imagine them seriously damaging property too. It would be perverse to say a bomb that killed people was a terrorist attack but the bomb that only damaged a building was not.

Logo 2023-04-21 The Conversation

– ‘ Perverse culture of fear’

Logo 2023-04-22 The Independent

The French Riviera is off limits; Dubai and Antalya are the main substitutes. Sanctions, perversely , may pave the way for the creation of a new generation of oligarchs. With Western firms leaving the country en masse, there are hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of assets up for grabs.

Logo 2023-04-23 The Economist

What is most disturbing, and what we saw at the woman’s rights protests, is how this perverse mindset has taken on a distinctively political and moral tone. In the same way that we were told to wear a mask to avoid contracting Covid, we are now told we must wear LGBTQ+ insignia and the like, in order to protect ourselves from the disease of bigotry. It is perhaps not a coincidence that the most ardent mask and lockdown advocates were on the left of politics.

Logo 2023-04-24 The Spectator

The ambiguities in his lyrics and his songforms felt more magnetic. Had these silent years strengthened the music’s contours, the way negative space defines a shape? It all felt so poetic and perverse . Frank Ocean chose to stay home on Sunday night, and if you did, too, everything might have sounded better than ever.

Logo 2023-04-24 The Washington Post

An organisation can also play a role in someone’s bad behaviour that leads to reputational damage. This is especially true when weak governance and undesirable cultural norms within organisations go unchallenged. For example, harsh quarterly financial targets or perverse incentives to generate value can create toxic environments.

Logo 2023-04-24 The Conversation

“It is somewhat perverse that on the day that we left the single market, a decision by, I think it was by you as chancellor, to remove the VAT refund for tourists made the UK the least attractive shopping destination in Europe,” he said.

Logo 2023-04-24 The Independent

The young chemist Humphry Davy, whom Coleridge befriended, experimented with the psychoactive properties of nitrous oxide, administering it to willing subjects and logging their descriptions of heightened imaginative capacities. And Charles Lamb, the poet’s former schoolmate, placed alcoholism under the microscope in “Confessions of a Drunkard” (1822), an essay in which he considered, under the guise of his alter ego, Elia, the perverse dependence of his reasoning abilities on intoxication. In each case, drugs figured not only as sensory agents, sources of pleasure or pain, but as a kind of education: tools you could think with, or try to think against.

Logo 2023-04-24 The New Yorker

And most of his rhetoric is tinctured with Benny Hill-era bigotry. It seems odd to fight a strain of sexism that was all but extinct several decades ago, and the show feels like a perverse attempt to resurrect prejudice so that the characters can defeat it afresh.

Logo 2023-04-26 The Spectator

Then Banville wins, he said. The next day Boyd Tonkin of the Inde­pendent wrote: “Yesterday the Man Booker judges made possibly the worst, certainly the most perverse , and perhaps the most indefensible choice in the 36-year history of the contest.” I think he was right.

Logo 2023-04-26 Literary Hub

Keller-Sutter can see the risks. However, as she explains to Jordan and Angehrn, the alternatives seem equally unattractive. One option is a sale to UBS. But Colm Kelleher, chair of Credit Suisse’s arch rival, is demanding a generous state backstop. It seems perverse to put taxpayer money on the line while leaving the Credit Suisse bonds untouched.

Logo 2023-04-27 Reuters

Those companies need to be able to quickly evaluate requests without needing “to deeply investigate them to make sure they aren’t in furtherance of human rights abuses and things like that.” he said. Although it could backfire. “It’s actually going to have a perverse consequence,” he said. “It’s going to make these requests take longer.”

Logo 2023-04-28 The Washington Post

A 25-year old, Chris Bruney, committed suicide, also in 2017, after gambling away £119,000. Instead of closing his account, the bookies gave him cash bonuses and free bets. After his death, his grieving family found that an online casino had given him a £400 bonus to bet with hours before he took his life. Of all the necessary measures to tighten the rules on gambling, banning these perverse incentives to gamble more are the most needed.

Logo 2023-04-29 The Spectator