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[deg-ruh-dey-shuh n] /ˌdɛg rəˈdeɪ ʃən/
the act of degrading.
the state of being degraded.
Physical Geography. the wearing down of the land by the erosive action of water, wind, or ice.
Chemistry. the breakdown of an organic compound.
Origin of degradation
1525-35; < Late Latin dēgradātiōn- (stem of dēgradātiō), equivalent to dēgradāt(us) (past participle of dēgradāre to degrade) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
degradational, adjective
degradative, adjective
antidegradation, adjective
nondegradation, noun
self-degradation, noun
2. humiliation, disgrace, dishonor, debasement. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for self-degradation
Historical Examples
  • Then he wrote a few lines to the superintendent and enclosed his self-degradation.

    A Singer from the Sea Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • It had not faltered before the self-degradation of which she had just spoken.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • In the first days of my self-degradation, I had ceased to see Mary.

    The Two Destinies Wilkie Collins
  • Never attempt to accommodate yourself to the world by self-degradation.

    Cashel Byron's Profession George Bernard Shaw
  • Lilly felt a hot desire to protect him against the self-degradation in which he indulged.

    The Song of Songs Hermann Sudermann
  • Yet he submits to self-degradation rather than endure the pain and effort of self-emancipation.

  • A self-degradation, my friend, which to the utmost removes the mind from God.

  • Stella had already begun the process of self-degradation by writing secretly to Winterfield.

    The Black Robe Wilkie Collins
  • For what is called "sowing wild oats" is nothing more nor less than self-degradation to any young man.

    Successward Edward W. Bok
  • It was the quixoticism of self-degradation, but was doubtless not without some wholesome influence.


    Julian Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for self-degradation


the act of degrading or the state of being degraded
a state of degeneration, squalor, or poverty
some act, constraint, etc, that is degrading
the wearing down of the surface of rocks, cliffs, etc, by erosion, weathering, or some other process
(chem) a breakdown of a molecule into atoms or smaller molecules
(physics) an irreversible process in which the energy available to do work is decreased
(RC Church) the permanent unfrocking of a priest
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 self-degradation



1530s, from French dégradation (14c., Old French degradacion), from Medieval Latin degradationem (nominative degradatio), noun of action from past participle stem of degradare (see degrade).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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self-degradation in Medicine

degradation deg·ra·da·tion (děg'rə-dā'shən)
Progressive decomposition of a chemical compound into a less complex compound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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