From de- +‎ base, from Old French bas, from Latin bassus. Cognate with Spanish debajo (under, beneath, below).



debase (third-person singular simple present debases, present participle debasing, simple past and past participle debased)

  1. (transitive) To lower in character, quality, or value; to degrade.
    • 1961 May 9, Newton N. Minow, "Television and the Public Interest":
      And just as history will decide whether the leaders of today's world employed the atom to destroy the world or rebuild it for mankind's benefit, so will history decide whether today's broadcasters employed their powerful voice to enrich the people or to debase them.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To lower in position or rank.[1]
  3. (transitive) To lower the value of (a currency) by reducing the amount of valuable metal in the coins.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.