Deprived and depraved are easily confused words.
The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.
Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.
Deprived (dee-pry-vuhd) is the past tense of the verb “deprive.” To deprive is to refuse to meet a need, to deny care to another being. So “deprived” would be used to indicate someone failing to receive care or have their needs met in the past.
Depraved (pronounced “dee-prayv-dh”) is an adjective. It describes someone with poor tastes, mannerisms, or behaviors, to the point of being amoral or hedonistic.
One of Hunter S. Thompson’s famous articles was “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved,” published in Scanlan’s Monthly in June 1970. The Derby is notorious for people getting all dressed up and many more getting extremely drunk, especially on the infield.
The following story uses both words correctly:
Diego was placed in foster care after it was discovered his parents wrestled with drug addiction and committing crimes to support their habits. The boy had been deprived of attention and affection, and it showed in his behavior. He had developed a withdrawn persona, suspicious and untrusting of new people. After drifting from one household to the next, he found a home where he had brothers and at last, felt connected. His new parents, Denise and Deepak, offered to adopt him.
At court, it was not difficult for their attorney to make the case for their full custody. Diego’s birth parents were consumed by addiction and living a depraved lifestyle that was not appropriate for children. They were incapable of looking out for their son when they were dependent on a drug and in need of so much help themselves. The judge ruled in their favor. At age 9, Diego finally had a real home.