Sparsity measures are important and effective tools for accurately characterizing fault features and degradation trends of rotating machinery. In the past few decades, numerous sparsity measures, such as kurtosis, negentropy, Lp/Lq norm, pq-mean, smoothness index and Gini index, have been proposed and introduced for condition monitoring, fault diagnosis and remaining life prediction of rotating machinery. However, it is difficult for traditional sparsity measures to possess strong random impulse resistance and fault impulse discernibility simultaneously. To design robust sparsity measures for repetitive transient characterization and machine condition monitoring, an improved form of the sum of weighted normalized square envelope (SWNSE) is firstly developed by generalizing the order of the norm as a framework for adaptively quantifying the repetitive transients. Under this framework, a rank-dependent generalized Gini index (RDGGI) is proposed, allowing four specific forms of RDGGI to be reasonably constructed by introducing four weight sequence design methods. Theoretical derivation shows that the quantitative indices produced by the four specific forms of RDGGI satisfy at least five of the six attributes of sparsity measures, proving that the newly designed quantitative indices are sparsity measures, and are also scale-invariant and have a limited magnitude range between 0 and 1. Furthermore, a series of improved Gini indices are derived by setting typical norm orders and designing appropriate monotonically decreasing weight sequences, and simulation analysis is conducted to verify their three key properties in characterizing transient features. Finally, the performance of the improved Gini indices in characterizing bearing fault features for condition monitoring is verified using vibration datasets from two bearing run-to-failure experiments. Simulation and experimental results show that the improved Gini indices with norm order 3 can simultaneously possess strong resistance to random impulses and discernibility of fault impulses, demonstrating the superior performance of improved Gini indices in bearing condition monitoring.