verb (used with object), de·based, de·bas·ing.
  1. to reduce in quality or value; adulterate: They debased the value of the dollar.
  2. to lower in rank, dignity, or significance: He wouldn't debase himself by doing manual labor.

Origin of debase

1555–65; de- + base2; cf. abase
Related formsde·bas·ed·ness [dih-bey-sid-nis, -beyst-] /dɪˈbeɪ sɪd nɪs, -ˈbeɪst-/, nounde·base·ment, nounde·bas·er, nounde·bas·ing·ly, adverbself-de·base·ment, nounun·de·based, adjective

Synonyms for debase Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for debaser

Historical Examples of debaser

  • When I pressed him closer, he said he had been present at one hanging at Tyburn, but that was of a debaser of coins.

    Sir Ludar

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • Of Ephraim, the debaser of the coin, we have spoken; also of the king's manner towards Jews.

British Dictionary definitions for debaser


  1. (tr) to lower in quality, character, or value, as by adding cheaper metal to coins; adulterate
Derived Formsdebasedness (dɪˈbeɪsɪdnɪs), noundebasement, noundebaser, noundebasingly, adverb

Word Origin for debase

C16: see de-, base ²
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

Word Origin and History for debaser



1560s, from de- "down" + base (adj.) "low," on analogy of abase (or, alternatively, from obsolete verb base "to abuse").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper