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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Debauch \De*bauch"\, v. t. & i. [imp. & p. p. Debauched; p. pr. & vb. n. Debauching.] [F. d['e]baucher, prob. originally, to entice away from the workshop; pref. d['e]- (L. dis- or de) + OF. bauche, bauge, hut, cf. F. bauge lair of a wild boar; prob. from G. or Icel., cf. Icel. b[=a]lkr. See Balk, n.] To lead away from purity or excellence; to corrupt in character or principles; to mar; to vitiate; to pollute; to seduce; as, to debauch one's self by intemperance; to debauch a woman; to debauch an army.

Learning not debauched by ambition.

A man must have got his conscience thoroughly debauched and hardened before he can arrive to the height of sin.

Her pride debauched her judgment and her eyes.


Debauch \De*bauch"\, n. [Cf. F. d['e]bauche.]

  1. Excess in eating or drinking; intemperance; drunkenness; lewdness; debauchery.

    The first physicians by debauch were made.

  2. An act or occasion of debauchery.

    Silenus, from his night's debauch, Fatigued and sick.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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 (n.)). 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.\n


n. 1 An individual act of debauchery. 2 An orgy. vb. 1 (context transitive English) To morally corrupt (someone); to seduce. 2 (context transitive English) To debase (something); to lower the value of (something).

  1. n. a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity [syn: orgy, debauchery, saturnalia, riot, bacchanal, bacchanalia, drunken revelry]

  2. v. corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality; "debauch the young people with wine and women"; "Socrates was accused of corrupting young men"; "Do school counselors subvert young children?"; "corrupt the morals" [syn: corrupt, pervert, subvert, demoralize, demoralise, debase, profane, vitiate, deprave, misdirect]

Usage examples of "debauch".

Little Ivan it was, anxiously searching the back-alley bars, who found Buffo still on his feet, though wavering, and led him back to Clown Alley, there to settle him on an upturned stool before a rectangle of cracked mirrors, where Buffo flailed about, wriggled, moaned and struggled to prevent Grik and Grok repairing the ravages his debauch had made upon his make-up.

Elenor, whom the artful Fathom had debauched upon his first arrival in town, in the manner already described in these memoirs.

She would have been perfect for Yossarian, a debauched, coarse, vulgar, amoral, appetizing slattern whom he had longed for and idolized for months.

The girls led them up four steep, very long flights of creaking wooden stairs and guided them through a doorway into their own wonderful and resplendent tenement apartment, which burgeoned miraculously with an infinite and proliferating flow of supple young naked girls and contained the evil and debauched ugly old man who irritated Nately constantly with his caustic laughter and the clucking, proper old woman in the ash-gray woolen sweater who disapproved of everything immoral that occurred there and tried her best to tidy up.

But the standards of life vary with those who live, and I never could see that a man was less of a thief because he thieved from a throne, or less a profligate because he debauched a princess.

Little did I suspect that the sacrifice of truth, which we both imagined to have been made to friendship, was in reality a prostitution of it to a depraved and debauched appetite.

It will make the world of difference for Slimbridge to know we are not a debauched and wicked family.

I have gone in two or three months, from debauched outcast to honoured hero.

Affection, one that was also greatly debauched in his principles, and answerable thereto in his life: he was wholly given to the flesh, and therefore they called him Vile-Affection.

He was forced into marriage while still a minor by the brothers of Ann Hathaway, who was several years his senior, and had debauched him and gave out that she was enceinte by him.

Dioscorides and Theophrastus, and was much esteemed by the Romans to be eaten after a debauch of wine, or as a sedative for inducing sleep.

Schrader speaks of a person from whose mouth and fauces after a debauch issued fire.

The wisdom of the godly founders of the plantation at Salem, the charge whereof was entrusted to my weak hands, did clearly perceive the lamentable effects, both to the souls and bodies of the users, hebetating the former, and debauching the latter, likely to arise from an indulgence therein, and they did therefore, both in their first and second letter of instructions to myself and the Council, straightly enjoin that no tobacco should be planted by any of the new planters under our government, saving under close restrictions, and that the same might be taken by ancient men and none other, and that privately.

Now a middle class, once content with the annual Hogmanay debauch, demanded turkey, plum pudding, a tree in the window, and the unsteady march of Christmas cards across the mantelpiece.

This theory has it that the prince, never known as the brightest light or most upstanding exemplar of the Hanover line, suffered from effects of syphilis on the brain as a result of his debauching and that he used to slum in Whitechapel and pick up lowly women.