- 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 for degenerate on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for degenerated
What was initially intended to be a celebration of music has degenerated into a weird marriage of fashion and commerce.Coachella, Oasis For Douchebags and Trust Fund Babies, Should Be Avoided At All Costs
April 12, 2014
In other hands, this scenario might have degenerated into a caricature-filled freak show.Richard Porton on Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Behind the Candelabra’
May 23, 2013
Within the committee, partisan bickering has degenerated to personal distrust.'Do-Nothing' Congress a Target for Obama in 2012
November 12, 2011
Like the rest of our world, his city had degenerated into subdead induced bedlam.The Extinction Parade: An Original Zombie Story by Max Brooks
January 14, 2011
Instead, the tone in Quebec has degenerated to “my-way-or-the-highway.”Women Fight Back: Don't Ban the Veil!
April 8, 2010
Before five miles were passed, the retreat had degenerated into a mere rout.The Siege of Boston
Even the very fire, in a fit of pique, has degenerated into a dull glow.Molly Bawn
Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
As it grew in power so it degenerated into an instrument of tyranny.All Roads Lead to Calvary
Jerome K. Jerome
On the other hand, he has not degenerated from some ideal pacific state.The Psychology of Nations
When there were no more heathen it degenerated into extreme popular farce.Folkways
William Graham Sumner
- 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 degenerated
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.