When you see or hear an ugly word like "abrupt," "erupt," "disrupt," "bankrupt," "rupture," or "corrupt," you know it has something to do with things breaking.
"Corrupt" describes people, groups, and systems that are broken morally. Their sense of right and wrong is all messed up. Corrupt people tend to lie, cheat, steal, and sneak around. They want money, or they want power, or both—so they do all kinds of bad things to get it. Or keep it.
Here's an example from a show called The Great North. Some students want to paint a mural in the school. But the mural would speak out against a company that the superintendent supports. The superintendent says, "No, you can't paint that." She's corrupt! She should care about the students, their art, and their self-expression, but instead she cares about protecting that company so she can keep all her money and power. When the students figure it out, one of them says, "That's corrupt. It's literally the definition of 'corrupt.' As I discovered earlier when I looked it up."
For another example, let's say there's an excellent private school that lots of students want to attend. Only a hundred students can enroll every year, but thousands of students apply. The school should be fair about who they admit, right? But secretly, they admit only the students whose parents give huge donations of money to the school. That school is corrupt. Its administrators are corrupt. And that corruption could really hurt a lot of families.
That's what "corrupt" and "corruption" mean most of the time. They're serious words. But you can still use them to joke around. For example, Pam on The Office jokes that she's become corrupt after secretly giving a worker extra sick days so he'll keep her secret quiet.
Remember: corruption is a state of people doing sneaky, bad things because they want money and power.
Idea 1: "Even if you try to bribe me with (something), I won't (do something bad or evil); I can't be corrupted."
Idea 2: "There's always a news story about corruption in the government or in a corporation; still, if you look, you can find a news story about (people doing something good, kind, helpful, or wonderful)."
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