[dih-jen-er-uh-tiv, -uh-rey-tiv]
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Origin of degenerative

First recorded in 1840–50; degenerate + -ive
Related formsnon·de·gen·er·a·tive, adjectiveun·de·gen·er·a·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for degenerative


  1. (of a disease or condition) getting steadily worse
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 degenerative

1846; see degenerate + -ive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

degenerative in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, causing, or characterized by degeneration.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.