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[dih-jen-er-uh-see] /dɪˈdʒɛn ər ə si/
degenerate state or character.
the process of degenerating; decline.
degenerate behavior, especially behavior considered sexually deviant.
Physics. the number of distinct quantum states of a system that have a given energy.
Origin of degeneracy
First recorded in 1655-65; degener(ate) + -acy
Related forms
nondegeneracy, noun, plural nondegeneracies.
predegeneracy, noun
undegeneracy, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for degeneracy
Contemporary Examples
  • My father is convinced that everything I wear is newly bought, another marker in my ongoing pattern of degeneracy.

Historical Examples
  • A bad road is an indication and a producer of degeneracy in man and beast.

    'Charge It' Irving Bacheller
  • Yet he had at least made the attempt to rise above his weakness and degeneracy.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet
  • You are Canadian—in you I can banish the coldness, hollowness, and degeneracy of Europe.

    The False Chevalier William Douw Lighthall
  • Nearly every one seemed to be affected by the spirit of degeneracy.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • The causes of degeneracy are not examined, when its mischief is suffered.

  • Thus she can guard her own health, and preserve her offspring from degeneracy.

    The Physical Life of Woman: Dr. George H Napheys
  • His moanings to Mrs. Crewe over the degeneracy of the age also tell their tale.

    William Pitt and the Great War John Holland Rose
  • They outraged them by the admixture of kindred blood, and degeneracy was often the result.

    Mizora: A Prophecy Mary E. Bradley
  • Improvement is ever slow and difficult; degeneracy is too often startling rapid.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
British Dictionary definitions for degeneracy


noun (pl) -cies
the act or state of being degenerate
the process of becoming degenerate
(physics) the number of degenerate quantum states of a particular orbital, degree of freedom, energy level, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for degeneracy

1660s, from degenerate + -cy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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