• WordNet 3.6
    • v debase corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones "adulterate liquor"
    • v debase lower in value by increasing the base-metal content
    • v debase corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality "debauch the young people with wine and women","Socrates was accused of corrupting young men","Do school counselors subvert young children?","corrupt the morals"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • v. t Debase To reduce from a higher to a lower state or grade of worth, dignity, purity, station, etc.; to degrade; to lower; to deteriorate; to abase; as, to debase the character by crime; to debase the mind by frivolity; to debase style by vulgar words. "The coin which was adulterated and debased .""It is a kind of taking God's name in vain to debase religion with such frivolous disputes.""And to debase the sons, exalts the sires."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • debase To reduce in quality or state; impair the purity, worth, or credit of; vitiate; adulterate: as, to debase gold or silver by alloy.
    • debase To lower or impair morally; degrade.
    • debase Synonyms Debase, Degrade, etc. (see abase), lower, deteriorate, dishonor, alloy, taint, corrupt, defile. See list under degrade.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Debase de-bās′ to lower: to make mean or of less value: to adulterate
    • ***


  • Simone Weil
    “Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being.”
  • Cathy Better
    Cathy Better
    “Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It's in our hands.”
  • Francis Bacon
    “Nuptial love makes mankind; friendly love perfects it; but wanton love corrupts and debases it.”
  • Gore Vidal
    “The theater needs continual reminders that there is nothing more debasing than the work of those who do well what is not worth doing at all.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Pref. de-, + base,. See Base (a.), and cf. Abase
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. de, down, and base, low.


In literature:

These men, in several instances, have set examples which the most debased Mexican would hesitate to follow.
"The Life and Adventures of Kit Carson, the Nestor of the Rocky Mountains, from Facts Narrated by Himself" by De Witt C. Peters
How can I see you debase yourself and me by such an act?
"Ellen Walton" by Alvin Addison
O how this earthly temper doth debase The noble soul, in this her humble place!
"Sir Thomas Browne and his 'Religio Medici' an Appreciation" by Alexander Whyte
If I have injured thee, that makes us equal; The wrong, if done, debased me down to thee.
"The Works Of John Dryden, Vol. 7 (of 18)" by John Dryden
I don't want beauty debased.
"The Plastic Age" by Percy Marks
He may be a man of unblemished reputation, and yet debased in the truest meaning of the word.
"Sermons Preached at Brighton" by Frederick W. Robertson
I was only trying you to ascertain how low you would degrade and how debasingly demean yourself to beg for mercy.
"Eveline Mandeville" by Alvin Addison
They would corrupt the morals, debase the manners, and deprave the tastes of the young.
"Life and Labors of Elder John Kline, the Martyr Missionary" by John Kline
People talk of barbaric architecture and debased art.
"Orthodoxy" by G. K. Chesterton
It was a debasing, lowering occurrence, and he felt sure that it could hardly have taken place in his servants' hall.
"Elster's Folly" by Mrs. Henry Wood

In poetry:

Under what spell are we debased
By fears for our inviolate Isle,
Whose record is of dangers faced
And flung to heel with even smile?
Is it a vaster force, a subtler guile?
"The Call" by George Meredith
It is too much the fashion to strain at effects,--
Yes, that's what's the matter with Hannah!
Our popular taste, by the tyros debased,
Paints each barnyard a grove of Diana!
"Consistency" by Eugene Field
But come not here to batter and debase,
Nor hoping to reach license unconfined;
No alien hand our inscriptions may efface,
Justice may be, but vigilant Freedom is not, blind!
"America" by Maurice Thompson
He 'll tell you his standard as Man is disgraced;
He 'll portray the disease of his soul;
He 'll tell you he's humbled, degraded, debased,
By the demon that lurks in the bowl.
"Exhortation To Be Temperate" by John Pierpont
Churchmen, and lawyers, and keen politicians,—
The rich in chariots, rode by in haste;
None seemed dispos'd to shew e'en compassion
To one, in their view, so mean and debased.
"The Captive" by Benjamin Cutler Clark
Quit your cards in a trice, and your rattling of dice,
Your riots, which mankind debase —
Your oaths loud and foul, which must shock each good soul,
And Christ's solemn birth-day disgrace.
"Another Invitation, Or Exhortation To Worship Christ Jesus" by Rees Prichard

In news:

Remember, Paul Ryan freaked about out about CURRENCY DEBASEMENT back in 2011 -- when, well, the currency was most definitely not debased .
Did Ephron liberate or debase women.
An election that debased our dreams.
The VP debate debased .
It's not that people have decided, with Jean-Jacques Rousseau , that they hate books because they're debasing and corrupting.
From Dominique Strauss-Kahn to Casey Anthony to Rupert Murdoch, the media are debasing the public conversation—and therefore our democratic process.
How sexual harassment law debases politics and journalism.
The condiment debasing jerk who posted a photograph of himself standing in lettuce during his shift at a Cleveland area Burger King has been fired along with two others.
She would probably have been mortified had she known I was part of the minority group she was debasing — but I wasn't about to clue her in.
Watch the Pixies perform 'Debaser' at a "secret" London show in June.
Debased Dollar Getting On Brazil Fin Min's Nerves.
Abe's post ("Accepting the Unacceptable") about Secretary Gates's speech yesterday is a reminder that – as George Orwell warned us long ago – the debasement of language has both intellectual and political consequences.
Dick Hoey, Curtis Arledge foresee inflation, currency debasement and a pullback from the fiscal cliff in Obama's second term.
We've omitted the sub-varieties, like Mint Milanos and those delectable debasements the Milano Melts—we'll have to store those away for a different poll.
Debased Dollar Getting On Brazil Fin Min 's Nerves.