Something that's perverse is deviant — it's not completely acceptable, and it may be even a little strange. Your perverse sense of humor probably makes some of your friends laugh while others just look uncomfortable.

Something perverse is unusual, possibly somewhat weird, and even immoral, like that time the odd kid in class announced that a love poem was really all about lovingly poisoning squirrels and no one sat next to him for a week afterwards. That kid's perspective was perverse. Perverse can also mean "stubbornly contradictory" or "perverted." The word originally meant "wicked," from the Latin perversus, "turned away or askew," and figuratively, "turned away from what is right."

Definitions of perverse

adj deviating from what is considered moral or right or proper or good

depraved, perverted, reprobate
lacking in integrity

adj marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict

“took perverse satisfaction in foiling her plans”
characterized by or displaying negation or denial or opposition or resistance; having no positive features

adj resistant to guidance or discipline

“a perverse mood”
contrary, obstinate, wayward
not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.