The sex-related meanings of words tend to drive out all other meanings. Most people think of both “perverse” and “perverted” only in contexts having to do with desire, but “perverse” properly has the function of signifying “stubborn,” “wrong-headed.”

Nothing erotic is suggested by this sort of thing: “Josh perversely insisted on carving wooden replacement parts for his 1958 Ford’s engine.” It’s better to use “perverted” in relation to abnormal sexual desires, but this word also has non-sexual functions, as in “The bake-sale was perverted by Gladys into a fundraiser for her poker habit.”

People sometimes mispronounce “pervert” as “PREE-vert.”

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