debauch

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

1590s, from Middle French desbaucher (entice from work or duty), from Old French desbaucher (to lead astray), from des- + bauch (beam), from Frankish *balko,[1] from Proto-Germanic *balkô, from Proto-Indo-European *bhelg- (beam, plank); latter origin of balk.

Evolution of sense unclear; may be literally “to shave/trim wood to make a beam” or may be “to leave/lure someone from a workshop”, Frankish *balko perhaps also meaning “workshop”.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

debauch (plural debauches)

  1. An individual act of debauchery.
    • 1913, Sax Rohmer, The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, ch. 25:
      [T]he room probably was one which he actually used for opium debauches.
  2. An orgy.
    • 1955, Joseph Heller, Catch-22, ch. 13:
      [T]here were always the gay and silly sensual young girls that Yossarian had found and brought there and those that the sleepy enlisted men returning to Pianosa after their own exhausting seven-day debauch had brought there.

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

debauch (third-person singular simple present debauches, present participle debauching, simple past and past participle debauched)

  1. (transitive) To morally corrupt (someone); to seduce.
    • 1727, Daniel Defoe, The History of the Devil, ch. 9:
      But the Devil had met with too much Success in his first Attempts, not to go on with his general Resolution of debauching the Minds of Men, and bringing them off from God.
  2. (transitive) To debase (something); to lower the value of (something).

Translations[edit]

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Related terms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ debauch” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).