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[dih-bawch] /dɪˈbɔtʃ/
verb (used with object)
to corrupt by sensuality, intemperance, etc.; seduce.
to corrupt or pervert; sully:
His honesty was debauched by the prospect of easy money.
Archaic. to lead away, as from allegiance or duty.
verb (used without object)
to indulge in debauchery.
a period of wanton or sensual self-indulgence.
an uninhibited spree or party; orgy:
a wild debauch.
Origin of debauch
1585-95; < French débaucher to entice away from duty, debauch, Old French desbauchier to disperse, scatter, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -bauchier, derivative of bauc, bauch beam (< Germanic; see balcony, balk; compare French ébaucher to rough-hew); hence, presumably, to hew (beams) > to split, separate > to separate from work or duty
Related forms
debaucher, noun
debauchment, noun
Can be confused
debauch, debouch.
1. See debase. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for debauch
  • The affair was the culmination of a long debauch coupled with jealousy.
  • Printing money would worsen inflation, debauch the currency and bring a balance-of-payments crisis.
  • Those that debauch the currency dilute the lifeblood of the economy until it dies of suffocation.
  • When her smug father comes to try to persuade her to abandon her career of vice, she shamelessly attempts to debauch him.
  • There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.
  • The opinion of those who know him is that he took an overdose of morphine io counteract the effects of a debauch.
  • He threw himself upon one of the seats at full length as if to sleep off his debauch.
  • He was on a protracted debauch, but sober enough to be on the alert against all attempts to persuade him to submit to treatment.
British Dictionary definitions for debauch


(when transitive, usually passive) to lead into a life of depraved self-indulgence
(transitive) to seduce (a woman)
an instance or period of extreme dissipation
Derived Forms
debauchedly (dɪˈbɔːtʃɪdlɪ) adverb
debauchedness, noun
debaucher, noun
debauchery, debauchment, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French desbaucher to corrupt, literally: to shape (timber) roughly, from bauch beam, of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debauch

1590s, from Middle French débaucher "entice from work or duty," from Old French desbaucher "to lead astray," supposedly literally "to trim (wood) to make a beam" (from bauch "beam," from Frankish balk or some other Germanic source akin to English balk). A sense of "shaving" something away, perhaps, but the root is also said to be a word meaning "workshop," which gets toward the notion of "to lure someone off the job;" either way the sense evolution is unclear.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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