To debase something is to make it corrupt or impure. If your lemonade stand sells “pure lemonade,” you’d insist on using real lemons instead of a mix; using a mix would debase your product.

Debase is often used in the context of two things: coins and people. To debase a coin is to replace some of the precious metal in the coin with metal of lesser value. To debase a person is to corrupt them, often by driving them to perform an immoral act like (gasp!) using the lemonade mix. Just promise us you won’t do it.

Definitions of debase
  1. verb
    corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones
    synonyms: adulterate, dilute, load, stretch
    extend, stretch
    increase in quantity or bulk by adding a cheaper substance
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    water down
    thin by adding water to
    doctor, doctor up, sophisticate
    alter and make impure, as with the intention to deceive
    type of:
    corrupt, spoil
    alter from the original
  2. verb
    lower in value by increasing the base-metal content
    synonyms: alloy
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    type of:
    lower the value or quality of
  3. verb
    corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality
    synonyms: corrupt, debauch, demoralise, demoralize, deprave, misdirect, pervert, profane, subvert, vitiate
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    carnalise, carnalize, sensualise, sensualize
    debase through carnal gratification
    corrupt with ideas or an ideology
    lead astray, lead off
    teach immoral behavior to
    spoil as if by poison
    bastardise, bastardize
    change something so that its value declines; for example, art forms
    incite to commit a crime or an evil deed
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
Word Family

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