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 formsdeg·ra·da·tion·al, adjectivedeg·ra·da·tive, adjectivean·ti·deg·ra·da·tion, adjectivenon·deg·ra·da·tion, nounself-deg·ra·da·tion, noun

Synonyms for degradation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for degradation

Contemporary Examples of degradation

Historical Examples of degradation

  • From the symbol of her degradation, she looked to the man whose action had placed it there.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It was blasphemy to think of her in such case, subjected to the degradation of these processes.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • She had very honourable alliances, and yet she has thought it no degradation to be governess to Madame de Pompadour's daughter.

    The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete

    Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe

  • She contrasted them with his own weakness and supineness and degradation.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • He was right at the bottom now, in the last state of degradation.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for 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

Word Origin and History for 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

degradation in Medicine




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.