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debase (v.)

1560s, "lower in position, rank, or dignity, impair morally," from de- "down" + base (adj.) "low," on analogy of abase (or, alternatively, from obsolete verb base "to abuse"). From 1590s as "lower in quality or value" (of currency, etc.), "degrade, adulterate." Related: Debased; debasing; debasement.

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