Definition of debauch in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈbɔːtʃ/


[with object]
1Destroy or debase the moral purity of; corrupt: Hitler debauched the moral climate of Germany
More example sentences
  • Is it ethical to do so, is it moral to debauch one's artistic integrity at the altar of Oscar greed?
  • Lenin is said to have said the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency.
  • This administration has debauched our once independent civil service. It has also plundered our pension funds, condemning millions to meagre pickings in their retirement.
1.1 dated Seduce (a woman): he debauches the doctor’s teenage daughter
More example sentences
  • This is why men who weary their imagination in books are less suitable for procreative functions; while those who dissipate their spirits in debauching women cannot apply themselves to serious study.
  • Apparently the Count debauches his own mother before turning paedophile.
  • When the Scots diarist James Boswell travelled to Corsica in 1765, he was warned he would be killed instantly if he so much as attempted ‘to debauch any of their women’.
corrupt, deprave, warp, pervert, subvert, lead astray, make degenerate, ruin;
seduce, ravish, deflower, defile, sully, violate, abuse, brutalize
informal take someone's cherry
archaic demoralize
rare vitiate


1A bout of excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs: Patrick looked utterly untouched by the previous night’s debauch
More example sentences
  • To his credit, Boswell never sought to downplay his debauches.
  • Yet a mere six months later, Sade is engaging in his most outrageous debauches to date.
  • As the youth is guided to his bed, he is assaulted by ‘unspeakable odors’ that seem to be ‘the fumes from a thousand bygone debauches’.
1.1 [mass noun] The practice of excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs: his life had been spent in debauch
More example sentences
  • I can't speak for other Londoners, but May Day Riots are rapidly joining the London Marathon as events that I never witness as such, yet whose aftermath always somehow impinges, usually when I'm off in search of debauch.
  • The place had a reputation for hands-on debauch (and was reportedly raided by cops earlier this year), so of course we were curious.
  • The roots of many carnivals around the world are in pre-Lenten debauch - a time to get down and dirty before those 40 days of strained piety.



Example sentences
  • Along with fellow debauchers Richard Burton and Oliver Reed, he made scandalous headlines in the '60s and '70s while doing enormous damage to his health.
  • Assuming the ancestral title Lord Boleskine, he quickly became known locally as the ‘Beast of Boleskine’ for his heroin addiction and reputation as a debaucher of vulnerable women.
  • Matt is then offered a job at a newspaper, moves his family to London and becomes embroiled with a career debaucher called Lawrence and a young, ambitious former colleague, Rachel.


Late 16th century: from French débaucher (verb) 'turn away from one's duty', from Old French desbaucher, of uncertain ultimate origin.

  • This is from French débaucher meaning ‘turn away from one's duty’, ‘entice away from the service of one's master’. The ultimate origin is debated, but one attractive suggestion is that it comes from bauche meaning ‘place of work’, giving an original sense ‘draw away from the workshop’.

Words that rhyme with debauch

nautch, porch, scorch, torch

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de|bauch

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