verb (used with object)

  1. to corrupt by sensuality, intemperance, etc.; seduce.
  2. to corrupt or pervert; sully: His honesty was debauched by the prospect of easy money.
  3. Archaic. to lead away, as from allegiance or duty.

verb (used without object)

  1. to indulge in debauchery.


  1. a period of wanton or sensual self-indulgence.
  2. an uninhibited spree or party; orgy: a wild debauch.


  1. (when tr, usually passive) to lead into a life of depraved self-indulgence
  2. (tr) to seduce (a woman)


  1. an instance or period of extreme dissipation

1590s, from Middle French d├ębaucher “entice from work or duty,” from Old French desbaucher “to lead astray,” supposedly literally “to trim (wood) to make a beam” (from bauch “beam,” from Frankish balk or some other Germanic source akin to English balk). A sense of “shaving” something away, perhaps, but the root is also said to be a word meaning “workshop,” which gets toward the notion of “to lure someone off the job;” either way the sense evolution is unclear.

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