Corruption is essentially termed as an "impairment of integrity, virtue or moral principle; depravity, decay, and/or an inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means, a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct, and/or an agency or influence that corrupts.
Corruption, when applied as a technical term, is a general concept describing any organized, interdependent system in which part of the system is either not performing duties it was originally intended to, or performing them in an improper way, to the detriment of the system's original purpose.
Its terminological usage possesses connotations of evil, malignance, sickness, and loss of innocence or purity.
Specific types of corruption include:
- Institutional corruption, as corrupt actions or policies within an organization that break the law, serve to subjugate humans in unlawful manners, discriminate against humans based upon race, ethnicity, culture, or orientation, or serve to degrade other humans or groups for that institution's own profit.
- Political corruption, as the dysfunction of a political system or institution in which government officials, political officials or employees seek illegitimate personal gain through actions such as bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Political corruption is a specific form of rent seeking, where access to politics is organized with limited transparency, limited competition and directed towards promoting narrow interests (rent seeking is not to be confused with property rental).
- Data corruption, as an unintended change to data in storage or in transit.
- Linguistic corruption, as the change in meaning to a language or a text introduced by cumulative errors in transcription as changes in the language speakers' comprehension.
- Putrefaction or decomposition of recently living matter. This physical process is the primary model of the metaphorical meaning of corruption, so advanced states of corruption in, e.g. a political structure are said to result in their putrefaction.
- Tahrif is the corruption of the Bible according to Islamic doctrine.