Definition of debase in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈbās/


[with object]
1Reduce (something) in quality or value; degrade: the love episodes debase the dignity of the drama
More example sentences
  • I'm all about building up the human spirit, not debasing it and degrading it all the more.
  • Rather, it assumes a more traditional role in which art becomes a privatized sphere of reality, seen in opposition to a world debased by common values.
  • This skewed history is the result of an oral culture being debased and devalued through the past century.
degrade, devalue, demean, cheapen, prostitute, discredit, drag down, tarnish, blacken, blemish;
disgrace, dishonor, shame;
damage, harm, undermine
1.1Lower the moral character of (someone): war debases people
More example sentences
  • The acts complained of were such as to arouse in the applicant feelings of fear, anguish, and inferiority capable of humiliating and debasing him and possibly breaking his resistance.
  • The corollary is that when shown what debases us, our soul compresses and our ego inflates.
  • Monroe had fled to the Actors Studio in the mid-'50s to achieve something more than the stardom she felt debased her.
1.2 historical Lower the value of (coinage) by reducing the content of precious metal.
Example sentences
  • It should be noted that the coinage was often debased (lowered in value through the admixture of alloy) and strategically revalued.
  • The state has understood this lesson since the kings of old began repeatedly to debase the coinage.
  • In Europe, gold was democratized by its use in coins, even though successive rulers tried to debase them by mixing in lesser metals or reducing their size.
reduce in value, reduce in quality, depreciate;
contaminate, adulterate, pollute, taint, sully, corrupt;
dilute, alloy



Pronunciation: /dəˈbāsmənt/
Example sentences
  • The debasement and corruption of the media are profound symptoms of the decomposition of the country's democracy.
  • They blame pornography for divorce, the dissolution of families, the debasement of sex, and general spiritual dissolution.
  • Patents have made science increasingly profit-focused, a debasement which has led to calls from some scientists to do away with them altogether.


Pronunciation: /dəˈbāsər/
Example sentences
  • Numerous laws and statutes enacted against ‘multipliers of metals’ and debasers of coins suggest that this was a profitable medieval equivalent of money-laundering and financial fraud.
  • America needs a third political party - a real third party that will stand up to Washington's nefarious tax tyrants and dollar debasers.
  • A perpetual drunkard and debaser of women, he spends most of his waking hours wandering around his house in a bathrobe, playing racquetball in a converted barn, and painting nudes.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'humiliate, belittle'): from de- 'down' + the obsolete verb base (compare with abase), expressing the notion 'bring down completely'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·base

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