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debase +‎ -ment



debasement (countable and uncountable, plural debasements)

  1. The act of debasing or the state of being debased; a lowering or degradation, especially in character or quality.
    • 1832, Edgar Allan Poe, "Bon Bon":
      His large water-dog was acquainted with the fact, and upon the approach of his master, betrayed his sense of inferiority by a sanctity of deportment, a debasement of the ears, and a dropping of the lower jaw not altogether unworthy of a dog.
    • 1912, Edith Wharton, chapter 33, in The Reef:
      She had given herself to Darrow, and concealed the episode from Owen Leath, with no more apparent sense of debasement than the vulgarest of adventuresses.
    • 2009, Gilbert Cruz, "The Many Faces of Addiction (Book review of America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life by Benoit Denizet-Lewis)," Time, 12 Jan.:
      There's something ugly and fascinating about reading such intimate tales of debasement and depression and failure and self-doubt.
  2. The lowering of the value of a currency by reducing the amount of valuable metal in the coins.