[ dih-beys ]
/ dɪˈbeɪs /
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See synonyms for: debase / debased on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), de·based, de·bas·ing.

to reduce in quality or value; adulterate: They debased the value of the dollar.
to lower in rank, dignity, or significance: He wouldn't debase himself by doing manual labor.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of debase

First recorded in 1555–65; de- + base2; cf. abase


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for debase

  • 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 debase

/ (dɪˈbeɪs) /


(tr) to lower in quality, character, or value, as by adding cheaper metal to coins; adulterate

Derived forms of debase

debasedness (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