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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
Historical Examples
  • I can recall to this very hour the sensations of headache and misery with which I awoke the morning after this debauch.

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • So far as I could judge, he had entirely recovered from his debauch.

    Down The River Oliver Optic
  • Alcohol taken in excess, as in a debauch, leads to acute gastro-intestinal catarrh.

  • It took time for him to recover from his debauch of feeling.

    Flamsted quarries Mary E. Waller
  • With the assistance of the mate he was put into the berth in his state-room, to sleep off the effects of his debauch.

    Work and Win Oliver Optic
  • In a moment the cobwebs of his debauch began to fall from him, and he became alert.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • A cousin, the handsome Oscar de Saint-Firmin, introduces her and hopes to be able to debauch her.

  • Of the younger men, many were sleeping off the debauch of the previous evening.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • The place was deserted, strewed with débris of the night's debauch.

    The Trail of '98 Robert W. Service
  • Is it no part of the price that you spend your days in pleasure and your nights in debauch?

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
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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