[ dih-baw-chuh-ree ]
/ dɪˈbɔ tʃə ri /
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noun, plural de·bauch·er·ies.

excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures; intemperance.
Archaic. seduction from duty, allegiance, or virtue.



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Origin of debauchery

First recorded in 1635–45; debauch + -ery
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does debauchery mean?

Debauchery is behavior considered excessively decadent, indulgent, and depraved. It’s especially used to collectively refer to drug use, excessive drinking, promiscuous sex, and the kind of uninhibited activity that happens at wild parties.

Debauchery has traditionally been used in a negative way by those who condemn it as immoral or sinful. But it is also used in a somewhat ironic way by those who engage in such activity to celebrate it or make it seem fun.

Example: Hair metal bands in the ’80s were notorious for their backstage debauchery.

Where does debauchery come from?

The first records of the word debauchery come from the 1600s. It derives from the French verb débaucher, meaning “to tempt away from duty.” Debauchery is the noun form of the verb debauch, meaning “to corrupt,” “to pervert,” or “to engage in debauchery.” The suffix -ery is used to form nouns indicating collective actions or qualities, as in trickery.

From its earliest usage, debauchery has been used to refer to behavior considered immoral. Today, it often refers to extreme sensual indulgence—the sex and drugs part of sex, drugs, and rock-‘n’-roll. Debauchery can occur at a single wild party, but a lifestyle of endless partying can also be described as debauchery.

In some places, the word is used in a more formal way in so-called debauchery laws that prohibit behavior considered immoral. Such laws are often nonspecific and may sometimes be used to oppress people in the LGBTQ community, among others.

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What are some other forms related to debauchery?

What are some synonyms for debauchery

What are some words that often get used in discussing debauchery?

How is debauchery used in real life?

Debauchery typically refers to excessive, over-the-top partying and the kind of wild activity that goes with it. It is often used negatively to criticize such activity, but it can also be used in an ironic way that celebrates it.



Try using debauchery!

Is debauchery used correctly in the following sentence? 

You wouldn’t believe the level of debauchery that used to go down at those frat parties.

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