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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for debauch
Historical Examples
  • In a moment the cobwebs of his debauch began to fall from him, and he became alert.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • Of the younger men, many were sleeping off the debauch of the previous evening.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Is it no part of the price that you spend your days in pleasure and your nights in debauch?

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Can I even trust him in hours of convivial abandonment and debauch?

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • The old chief seemed contrite after his debauch, but did not mention it.

    Rodney, the Ranger John V. Lane
  • Dawson Charlie, reeling home from a debauch, drowns in the river.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • In all that fierce madness of debauch, thank God, I retained my honour.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • The place was deserted, strewed with débris of the night's debauch.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • It favors not the association of the cup, the dice-box, or the debauch.

  • All this was by way of preparation for the evening's debauch.

    A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai
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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