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 formsnon·de·gen·er·a·cy, noun, plural non·de·gen·er·a·cies.pre·de·gen·er·a·cy, nounun·de·gen·er·a·cy, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for degeneracy

Contemporary Examples of degeneracy

  • My father is convinced that everything I wear is newly bought, another marker in my ongoing pattern of degeneracy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Men on the Dais

    Daphne Merkin

    January 2, 2009

Historical Examples of degeneracy

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for degeneracy


noun plural -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

Word Origin and History for degeneracy

1660s, from degenerate + -cy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper