What is a word meaning a person who takes bribes? Crook is too informal and encompasses too many other things.

I'm looking for a single noun that might describe such a person!

Example of usage:

Do you think he might have been bribed?

No, if he were a _______ I would have known.

  • 2
    @henchmanjustin "corruptible" springs to mind.
    – Elian
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:12
  • 4
    I thought about "corruptible" too, but I figured if they actually accept bribes they're not corruptible, they're already corrupt.
    – Misneac
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:18
  • 1
    @henchmanjustin Is it an adjective or a noun that you're looking for?
    – Elian
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:28
  • 5
    Politician? :-)
    – user45532
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 9:00
  • 3
    @henchmanjustin Misneac makes a good point, I think people are answering different questions here. So, do you mean a word for someone who is open to being bribed (venal/corruptible) or someone who is actually in receipt of a bribe (bribee)?
    – Rupe
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 9:15

7 Answers 7


The appropriate word is venal, meaning bribable from the Latin venalis, sale. The venal politician is one whose influence is literally for sale.

  • Good show. I forgot "venal".
    – Misneac
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 9:01
  • this is not a noun
    – Toothrot
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 14:10


  • Capable of being bribed; venal: a purchasable senator.



  • Capable of being corrupted: corruptible judges.

The Free Dictionsty


What's wrong with just "corrupt"?


Consider something as simple as bribable:

bribable: open to improper influence and especially bribery
Example: corruption in that country is so widespread that there are few public officials who are not bribable


bribable: capable of being bribed

(Webster's Unabridged)

If you need a popular word that any Anglophone understands, I suggest corrupt:

Venal or dishonest
a corrupt mayor.

(American Heritage Dictionary)

I like "venal" very much (was about to post it myself), but I'm not sure how many native speakers are familiar with it. So it depends on the target audience. For what it's worth, here's an Ngram demonstrating the popularity of "venal" vs "corrupt" vs other options:

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  • Bribable - capable of being corrupted; "corruptible judges"; "dishonest politicians"; "a purchasable senator"; "a venal police officer" thefreedictionary.com/bribable
    – user66974
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:39
  • I was writing the same answer. :)
    – user140086
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:44
  • @Josh61 I have an offline Webster's Unabridged, from which the definition came. But I also updated my answer to include another (online) source for my definition.
    – A.P.
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:45
  • @Rathony And I was about to post "venal", but deadrat beat me to it by 10 seconds or so :)
    – A.P.
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:47

Venal is those who accepts money in exchange of secret service .It is broadly used to describe corruption .But ,I will point out here ,Bribe is broader it may be used many dimensions. Money is also form of bribe so are other services. So ,Venal can be used ,given the context should also be considered.

  • 1
    This answer suggests a word that has already been in an answer since 2015. It is also chock full of grammatical and formatting errors.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 4:16



(by extension)

: undermine or corrupt, as in morals

Origin of subvert Middle English subverten ; from Middle French subvertir ; from Classical Latin subvertere ; from sub-, sub- + vertere, to turn: see verse [Your Dictionary]l(http://www.yourdictionary.com/subvert#yHLbGASEEHAHtsIw.99)

: to pervert or corrupt by an undermining of morals, allegiance, or faith M-W



: to use corrupt practices such as bribery or blackmail

: (usually followed by with) to attempt to influence or corrupt, esp by bribery: to tamper with the jury Collins English Dictionary

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