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Abase vs. Debase: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Abase means to lower in rank, esteem, or prestige, while debase refers to reducing the quality or value, especially of moral or artistic standards.
Abase vs. Debase

Key Differences

Abase primarily refers to the act of lowering someone in rank, esteem, or honor. It's a term often used in social or hierarchical contexts to describe the diminishing of someone's status or dignity. Debase, on the other hand, typically pertains to the reduction in quality or value, especially in the context of moral or artistic standards. This term is commonly associated with the corruption or dilution of purity, whether in a physical, moral, or intellectual sense.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
The usage of "abase" often implies a deliberate action to diminish the standing or respect of someone or something in the eyes of others. It can encompass both literal and figurative lowering. For instance, abasing a king would mean dethroning or diminishing his authority. Debase, in contrast, is used more in the sense of corrupting or adulterating something, such as debasing a currency by adding inferior metals, or debasing a language by incorporating slang.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
The emotional connotation of abase is typically more personal and directly related to dignity or honor. When someone is abased, there is a direct impact on their self-esteem or social standing. Debase, while also negative, leans more towards an impersonal degradation, like the debasement of a principle or an object. It's about diminishing the inherent value or purity of something rather than its social standing.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
In a linguistic context, abase is often used in situations that involve human interactions and social hierarchies. It’s less about the intrinsic quality of a person or object and more about their perceived value or status in a societal framework. Debase, conversely, is frequently employed in discussions about quality, purity, or authenticity. It is more about the intrinsic attributes of an object or concept being compromised or diminished.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
Finally, while both abase and debase carry negative connotations, the former is more closely tied to social or hierarchical power dynamics, and the latter to the corruption or dilution of inherent qualities. Understanding the nuances between these two words is crucial in accurately conveying the intended meaning in both spoken and written communication.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Context

Social or Hierarchical
Quality or Value
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Connotation

Lowering in esteem or rank
Reducing purity or worth
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Typical Usage

In relation to dignity or respect
In relation to intrinsic qualities
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Example Scenario

Demoting an employee
Adulterating a precious metal
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Emotional Implication

Affects personal dignity
Affects the perception of purity or authenticity
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Shumaila Saeed
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Abase and Debase Definitions

Abase

To diminish in honor or respect.
She would not abase her principles, even under pressure.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Debase

To reduce in quality or purity.
The artist refused to debase his work with commercial interests.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Abase

To reduce in status or respect.
The scandal served to abase the politician in the public's eye.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Debase

To degrade or spoil.
The addition of cheap materials debased the once luxurious brand.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Abase

To lower oneself in dignity.
He abased himself by lying to gain favor.
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Nov 20, 2023
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Debase

To corrupt or adulterate.
The company was accused of debasing its products to increase profits.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Abase

To lower in rank or esteem.
The general was abased after the failed mission.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Debase

To diminish in moral or aesthetic value.
The script was debased with unnecessary vulgarities.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Abase

To humiliate or degrade.
He refused to abase himself in front of his peers.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Debase

To lower in status, quality, or character.
He debased himself by engaging in unethical practices.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Abase

To lower in rank, prestige, or esteem.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

To lower in character, quality, or value; degrade.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Abase

(transitive) To lower, as in condition in life, office, rank, etc., so as to cause pain or hurt feelings; to degrade, to depress, to humble, to humiliate.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

(transitive) To lower in character, quality, or value; to degrade.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Abase

To lower physically; to depress; to cast or throw down; to stoop.
To abase the eye
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

To lower in position or rank.
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Oct 19, 2023

Abase

To lower in value, in particular by altering the content of alloys in coins; to debase.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

(transitive) To lower the value of (a currency) by reducing the amount of valuable metal in the coins.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Abase

To lower or depress; to throw or cast down; as, to abase the eye.
Saying so, he abased his lance.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

To reduce from a higher to a lower state or grade of worth, dignity, purity, station, etc.; to degrade; to lower; to deteriorate; to abase; as, to debase the character by crime; to debase the mind by frivolity; to debase style by vulgar words.
The coin which was adulterated and debased.
It is a kind of taking God's name in vain to debase religion with such frivolous disputes.
And to debase the sons, exalts the sires.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Abase

To cast down or reduce low or lower, as in rank, office, condition in life, or estimation of worthiness; to depress; to humble; to degrade.
Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

Corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality;
Debauch the young people with wine and women
Socrates was accused of corrupting young men
Do school counselors subvert young children?
Corrupt the morals
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Abase

Cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of;
He humiliated his colleague by criticising him in front of the boss
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

Lower in value by increasing the base-metal content
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Debase

Corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones;
Adulterate liquor
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can "abase" be used in a positive context?

Rarely, as it generally has a negative connotation of lowering status or respect.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "abase" be used in a non-social context?

It's primarily used in social contexts related to status or dignity.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

What does "abase" mean?

It means to lower someone in rank, esteem, or dignity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Is "abase" a common word in everyday language?

It's more formal and less common in casual conversation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Is "debase" specific to material things?

It can refer to both material and immaterial things like values or language.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

What does "debase" mean?

It means to reduce in quality, purity, or moral integrity.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

What is the noun form of "debase"?

The noun form is "debasement".
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Nov 20, 2023

What part of speech is "abase"?

It is a verb.
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Nov 20, 2023

Can "debase" imply a physical alteration?

Yes, like debasing a metal by mixing it with an inferior substance.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "abase" be reflexive?

Yes, one can abase themselves, meaning to lower their own dignity.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "abase" be used in a political context?

Yes, in the context of lowering someone's political standing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Are "abase" and "debase" interchangeable?

No, they have different contexts and connotations.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

What's the opposite of "debase"?

To purify or refine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

What are some synonyms for "debase"?

Corrupt, adulterate, tarnish.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

What's the opposite of "abase"?

Elevate or exalt.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Are there any synonyms for "abase"?

Humiliate, degrade, demean.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "abase" always imply intention?

Typically, yes, as it often involves a deliberate act of lowering status.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "debase" be used in a financial context?

Yes, like debasing a currency.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Is "debase" commonly used in everyday language?

It's more common in formal or technical contexts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "debase" always imply a negative outcome?

Generally, yes, as it involves reducing quality or moral value.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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