debase


debase
debase 1 Debase, vitiate, deprave, corrupt, debauch, pervert mean to cause a person or thing to become impaired and lowered in quality or character and share certain distinctions in implications and connotations with the adjectives (usually participial adjectives) corresponding to the verbs, debased, vitiated, depraved, corrupted (but more often, corrupt, debauched, perverted.)
Debase (see also ABASE) and debased imply a loss of worth, value, or dignity and are widely applicable
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plays that debase the taste of the people

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a debased coinage

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the life-and-death struggle with Hannibal . . . had permanently debased the Roman temper and left in it a core of hard inhumanity— Buchan

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success permits him to see how those he has converted distort and debase ... his teaching— Huxley

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the fine old language which has been slowly perfected for centuries, and which is now being . . . debased by the rubbishy newspapers which form almost the sole reading of the majority— Inge

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human values cruelly and systematically debased by the Nazis— Dean

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Vitiate and vitiated imply impairment through the introduction of a fault, a defect, or anything that destroys the purity, validity, or effectiveness of a thing
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a style vitiated by exaggeration

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inappropriate and badly chosen words vitiate thought— Huxley

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the fox . . . vitiates his line of scent with the gas fumes on the macadam highways— Heinold

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the vitiated air of a crowded hall

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party jealousies vitiated the whole military organization— Times Lit. Sup.

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a final decree . . . vitiated by the judge's assumption that he was bound by the master's findings of fact— Justice Holmes

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Deprave and depraved usually imply pronounced moral deterioration; thus, a person who has a debased taste cannot enjoy what is really good or beautiful if it lacks showy surface qualities which catch his attention, but a person with a deproved taste finds satisfaction only in what is wholly or partly obscene or prurient
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the belief that a witch was a person who leagued herself with the Devil to defy God and deprave man— The Spectator

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the servants, wicked and depraved, corrupt and deprave the children— Henry James

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Corrupt (both verb and adjective: for the latter see also vicious) and corrupted imply a loss of soundness, purity, integrity through forces or influences that break down, pollute, or destroy: the terms are applicable to things which are subject to decay, disintegration, or irreparable contamination of any sort
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lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corruptMt 6:19

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we must not so stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope— Shak.

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the idea of beauty has been corrupted by those who would make it purely impressionistic or expressive— Babbitt

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our schools teach the morality of feudalism corrupted by commercialism— Shaw

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Often also, the terms imply seduction, bribery, or influence as leading to a moral breakdown or to an immoral act
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they were not able to corrupt the new legislators

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corrupted courts

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at sixteen the girl was further corrupted by a "perverse and wicked" young manEdmund Wilson

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Debauch and debauched imply a demoralizing and depraving through such corrupting influences as a life of pleasure, ease, or sensual indulgence: they suggest the weakening, more often than the loss, of such qualities as loyalty to one's allegiance or duties, fitness for responsibility or high endeavor, and moral purity or integrity, and they often also connote dissoluteness or profligacy
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to betray their master and debauch his army— Mill

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she takes them to an enchanted isle, where she debauches them with enervating delights and renders them oblivious to their duty— R. A. Hall

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the gay, debauched, quite inconsequent lad was managed like a puppet— Belloc

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Pervert and perverted imply a twisting or distorting of something (sometimes someone) from what it is in fact or in its true nature, so as to debase it completely or make it incapable of proper or correct application; to pervert the meaning of a text is to twist that meaning in interpreting it so that it will serve one's own ends or seem to prove one's thesis; to pervert the facts in a case is to give a distorted and, usually, personally advantageous view of them; to pervert the ends of nature is to use one's appetites or natural desires for other ends than those which are normal and in accordance with nature
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subjugation of the eternal to the temporal in a perverted set of values— Times Lit. Sup.

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these nothings which . . . people are so prone to start a row about, and nurse into hatred from an idle sense of wrong, from perverted ambition— Conrad

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the truth to him ... is not only not to be spoken at all times, but it is now and then to be pervertedBrownell

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Analogous words: defile, pollute, taint, *contaminate: *adulterate, sophisticate, load, weight, doctor: impair, spoil, mar, damage, harm, *injure
Antonyms: elevate (taste, character): amend (morals, way of life)
Contrasted words: enhance, heighten (see INTENSIFY): raise, *lift: *improve, better, ameliorate
2 degrade, demean, *abase, humble, humiliate
Analogous words: *weaken, undermine, sap, enfeeble, debilitate, cripple, disable
Contrasted words: *vitalize, energize, activate: vivify, enliven, *quicken: *renew, restore, refresh, rejuvenate

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Debase — De*base , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Debased}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Debasing}.] [Pref. de + base. See {Base}, a., and cf. {Abase}.] To reduce from a higher to a lower state or grade of worth, dignity, purity, station, etc.; to degrade; to lower; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • debase — [v1] degrade, shame abase, bemean, cast down, cheapen, corrupt, cripple, debauch, debilitate, demean, demoralize, deprave, devaluate, devalue, disable, disgrace, dishonor, drag down*, dump on*, enfeeble, fluff off*, humble, humiliate, lower, put… …   New thesaurus

  • debase — [dē bās′, dibās′] vt. debased, debasing [ DE + base, aphetic < ABASE] to make lower in value, quality, character, dignity, etc.; cheapen SYN. DEGRADE debasement n. debaser n. SYN. DEBASE implies generally a lowering in quality, value, dignity …   English World dictionary

  • debase — I verb abase, adulterate, bastardize, befoul, cheapen, coarsen, contaminate, corrumpere, corrupt, debauch, defile, degrade, dehumanize, demoralize, deprave, depreciate, depress, desecrate, deteriorate, discredit, disgrace, dishonor, downgrade,… …   Law dictionary

  • debase — (v.) 1560s, from DE (Cf. de ) down + BASE (Cf. base) (adj.) low, on analogy of abase (or, alternatively, from obsolete verb base to abuse ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • debase — ► VERB ▪ lower the quality, value, or character of. DERIVATIVES debasement noun …   English terms dictionary

  • debase — UK [dɪˈbeɪs] / US verb [transitive] Word forms debase : present tense I/you/we/they debase he/she/it debases present participle debasing past tense debased past participle debased formal to reduce the value, quality, or status of something •… …   English dictionary

  • debase — transitive verb Date: 1565 1. to lower in status, esteem, quality, or character 2. a. to reduce the intrinsic value of (a coin) by increasing the base metal content b. to reduce the exchange value of (a monetary unit) • debasement noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • debase — de|base [dıˈbeıs] v [T] formal to make someone or something lose its value or people s respect ▪ The medical profession has been debased by these revelations. debase yourself ▪ actors who debased themselves by participating in the show debase a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • debase — verb (T) 1 informal to reduce the quality or value of something: a once rational society debased by war and corruption 2 debase yourself to do something that makes other people have less respect for you: women forced to debase themselves by… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English


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