- to fall below a normal or desirable level in physical, mental, or moral qualities; deteriorate: The morale of the soldiers degenerated, and they were unable to fight.
- to diminish in quality, especially from a former state of coherence, balance, integrity, etc.: The debate degenerated into an exchange of insults.
- Pathology. to lose functional activity, as a tissue or organ.
- Evolution. (of a species or any of its traits or structures) to revert to a simple, less highly organized, or less functionally active type, as a parasitic plant that has lost its taproot or the vestigial wings of a flightless bird.
- to cause degeneration in; bring about a decline, deterioration, or reversion in.
- having fallen below a normal or desirable level, especially in physical or moral qualities; deteriorated; degraded: a degenerate king.
- having lost, or become impaired with respect to, the qualities proper to the species or kind: a degenerate vine.
- characterized by or associated with degeneracy: degenerate times.
- Mathematics. pertaining to a limiting case of a mathematical system that is more symmetrical or simpler in form than the general case.
- (of modes of vibration of a system) having the same frequency.
- (of quantum states of a system) having equal energy.
- a person who has declined, as in morals or character, from a type or standard considered normal.
- a person or thing that reverts to an earlier stage of culture, development, or evolution.
- a sexual deviate.
Origin of degenerate
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for degenerating
But other states, especially Russia, have had trouble adjusting to a market economy, degenerating into massive kleptocracies.Cuba Is A Kleptocracy, Not Communist
December 19, 2014
Our culture, he argued, has been degenerating since the 1960s.Rick Santorum Ambushed at Personhood Forum by Abortion Flyers, Ron Paul Fans
January 19, 2012
[But] given my degenerating portability, I'm probably not suitable for live-in-studio-Charles-Rose-TV.Requiem for a Tough Guy
June 3, 2009
Ladies, ladies—this is degenerating into a mere hammer-fest.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
The world has been degenerating into a maudlin state of sentiment for some years.Roden's Corner
Henry Seton Merriman
Having been a coxcomb in his youth, Fox was now degenerating into the sloven.Beaux and Belles of England
He looked as if he were degenerating into the grub even before he died.The Macdermots of Ballycloran
Cows that are degenerating into consumption are exceedingly subject to abortion.Cattle and Their Diseases
- to become degenerate
- biology (of organisms or their parts) to become less specialized or functionally useless
- having declined or deteriorated to a lower mental, moral, or physical level; debased; degraded; corrupt
- (of the constituents of a system) having the same energy but different wave functions
- (of a semiconductor) containing a similar number of electrons in the conduction band to the number of electrons in the conduction band of metals
- (of a resonant device) having two or more modes of equal frequency
- (of a code) containing symbols that represent more than one letter, figure, etc
- (of a plant or animal) having undergone degeneration
- a degenerate person
Word Origin and History for degenerating
1540s, from Latin degeneratus, past participle of degenerare "fall from ancestral quality" (see degenerate (adj.)). Figurative sense of "to fall off, decline" was in Latin. Related: Degenerated; degenerating.
late 15c., from Latin degeneratus, past participle of degenerare "to be inferior to one's ancestors, to become unlike one's race or kind, fall from ancestral quality," used of physical as well as moral qualities, from phrase de genere, from de + genus (genitive generis) "birth, descent" (see genus). The noun is from 1550s.
- Characterized by degeneration, as of tissue, a cell, or an organ.
- Having lost one or more highly developed functions, characteristics, or structures through evolution.
- To undergo the process of degeneration.