mid-14c., corrupcioun, of material things, especially dead bodies, "act of becoming putrid, dissolution, decay;" also of the soul, morals, etc., "spiritual contamination, depravity, wickedness," from Latin corruptionem (nominative corruptio) "a corruption, spoiling, seducing; a corrupt condition," noun of action from past-participle stem of corrumpere "to destroy; spoil," figuratively "corrupt, seduce, bribe" (see corrupt (adj.)).
Meaning "putrid matter" is from late 14c. Of public offices, "bribery or other depraving influence," from early 15c.; of language, "perversion, vitiation," from late 15c. Meaning "a corrupt form of a word" is from 1690s.