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  1. a downward slope, especially of a road.
adjective, adverb
  1. downhill.
verb (used with object), down·grad·ed, down·grad·ing.
  1. to assign to a lower status with a smaller salary.
  2. to minimize the importance of; denigrate: She tried to downgrade the findings of the investigation.
  3. to assign a lower security classification to (information, a document, etc.).
  1. on the downgrade, in a decline toward an inferior state or position: His career has been on the downgrade.

Origin of downgrade

An Americanism dating back to 1855–60; down1 + grade
Related formsdown·grad·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for downgrade


verb (tr)
  1. to reduce in importance, esteem, or value, esp to demote (a person) to a poorer job
  2. to speak of disparagingly
  1. mainly US and Canadian a downward slope, esp in a road
  2. on the downgrade waning in importance, popularity, health, 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

Word Origin and History for downgrade

1858 (n.), 1930 (v.), from down (adv.) + grade.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper