Trend Watch

Corker: Trump 'Debased' the Nation

To lower in status, esteem, quality, or character

Debase struggled against its own etymology on October 24th, 2017, rising 67x to among our top lookups, after the verb (and its noun form debasement) was used in an interview with Senator Bob Corker, in reference to President Trump.

The word, which has been in use in English since the middle of the 16th century, initially had the meanings of “to lower in esteem by verbal attack” and “put to a low or inferior use.” Debase is formed by combining the prefix de- with the earlier word base (meaning “low, vile”). Additional meanings relating to monetary issues (“to reduce the intrinsic value of a coin by increasing the base-metal content” and “depreciate” soon followed.

I beleue that the mercy of the father, the sonne, and the holye ghost, pitied, & had compassion vpon Adam the loste man, and was prouoked to ordeine the sonne of god, second person in Trinitie to debase and humble him self vnto the nature of man, and also to become man to redeme and saue the loste man.
— John Hooper, A Godly Confession and Protestation of the Christian fayth, 1550

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