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de·​bauch di-ˈbȯch How to pronounce debauch (audio)
debauched; debauching; debauches

transitive verb

: to corrupt by intemperance or sensuality
debauched poets
a debauched society
: to lead away from virtue or excellence
debauched by ambition
factory methods … debauched Victorian designCountry Life
: to seduce from chastity
notorious for debauching young women
archaic : to make disloyal
debaucher noun


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: an act or occasion of extreme indulgence in sensuality or carnal pleasures : an act or occasion of debauchery
: orgy
a debauch of pleasure
Choose the Right Synonym for debauch

debase, vitiate, deprave, corrupt, debauch, pervert mean to cause deterioration or lowering in quality or character.

debase implies a loss of position, worth, value, or dignity.

commercialism has debased the holiday

vitiate implies a destruction of purity, validity, or effectiveness by allowing entrance of a fault or defect.

a foreign policy vitiated by partisanship

deprave implies moral deterioration by evil thoughts or influences.

the claim that society is depraved by pornography

corrupt implies loss of soundness, purity, or integrity.

the belief that bureaucratese corrupts the language

debauch implies a debasing through sensual indulgence.

the long stay on a tropical isle had debauched the ship's crew

pervert implies a twisting or distorting from what is natural or normal.

perverted the original goals of the institute

Example Sentences

Verb the long stay on a tropical isle had debauched the ship's crew to the point where they no longer acted like naval professionals
Recent Examples on the Web
The medical community and laypersons alike often blamed victims of the disease for their own suffering, believing that vicious, debauched, and unhygienic lifestyles begat typhus. Timothy Kent Holliday, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Apr. 2020 His voice is chirpy-thin, making his stories of debauched after-hours excess sound like child’s play. New York Times, 9 May 2018 Given this is a bachelorette party, though, her activities are sure to be slightly more debauched — perhaps something fun with vaginal jade eggs? Amanda Arnold, The Cut, 11 Apr. 2018 This is middle ages debauchery, when people really knew how to debauch. Kelly Kazek,, 16 Mar. 2018 Prohibition failed because too few Americans agreed that all drinking was debauched. The Economist, 19 Dec. 2017 The ruling class became hoggishly self-indulgent: Mr Heffer lacerates Edward VII for his habit of sponging off his friends and debauching their wives. The Economist, 7 Oct. 2017 If memory serves, Sixx’s proudly debauched autobiography was pretty graphic all by itself. George Varga,, 19 July 2017 Lofing, who is married, faced a misdemeanor charge of debauching a minor and on Monday was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Alex Thomas, ajc, 19 July 2017
But this year, the island is celebrating much more than Ernest Hemingway’s six-toed cats, Duval Street pub crawls or a Fantasy Fest debauch. Gwen Filosa,, 22 Mar. 2022 After the fashion industry disgraced itself by banishing Melania Trump, this latest debauch comes as no surprise. Armond White, National Review, 10 Mar. 2021 Take a break from taking a break with a long debauch at the Chateau Marmont? Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2020 In stark contrast to Mr Sehic’s debauches, hundreds of starving Bosniaks, led by small numbers of armed men, raid surrounding Serb villages for food. The Economist, 3 Oct. 2019 Pain and Glory Rated R for language, recreational drug use and remembrance of debauches past. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 3 Oct. 2019 Hot Springs was a wild town in those days—a spa for rich northerners, a debauch of illegal gambling, fancy nightclubs, and the Oaklawn racetrack. Joe Klein, Daily Intelligencer, 30 June 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debauch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle French debaucher, from Old French desbauchier to scatter, disperse, from des- de- + bauch beam, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German balko beam — more at balk entry 2

First Known Use


1595, in the meaning defined at sense 2b


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of debauch was in 1595

Dictionary Entries Near debauch

Cite this Entry

“Debauch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
de·​bauch di-ˈbȯch How to pronounce debauch (audio)
: to lead away from virtue or morality : corrupt
debaucher noun


2 of 2 noun
: an act, occasion, or period of debauchery

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