Someone once told me that he “was a bit debauched.” I was familiar with the word, and I just had to laugh. Anyway, debauch and debauchery are really great words to use when writing about straying from the straight and narrow path. The definition of debauch as a verb is to corrupt by sensuality, intemperance, etc; seduce. Another definition is to corrupt or pervert; sully. The archaic definition is to lead away, as from allegiance or duty.
Of course, the word debauch derives from the French word débaucher (to entice from duty) and from the Old French desbauchier (to scatter). Related nouns are: debaucher, debauchment, debauchedness, and debauchery.
Some of the better synonyms for debauch are debase, demoralize, inveigle, pollute, subvert, vitiate, and warp.
Debauch used in a sentence:
Gatsby tries to debauch Nick when he offers him a bootlegging job.
Another one I found was:
She was determined to debauch the reputation of her ‘perfect’ friend.
“I compensate for my debauchery by being brilliant at it. I make sacrifices for it by waking up in a gutter covered in the fruits of my genius.”
― Bauvard, Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic
“To be a poet is to place pleasure, beauty and sensual delights front and centre, it means having a predilection for debauchery.”
― Nicole Brossard
Debauch is a good, old word that has been declining in usage and popularity.
Book cover from 1923: