[ dih-grey-ding ]
/ dɪˈgreɪ dɪŋ /


that degrades; debasing; humiliating: degrading submission.

Origin of degrading

First recorded in 1675–85; degrade + -ing2
Related formsde·grad·ing·ly, adverbde·grad·ing·ness, nounnon·de·grad·ing, adjectiveun·de·grad·ing, adjective

Definition for degrading (2 of 2)


[ dih-greyd or for 3, dee-greyd ]
/ dɪˈgreɪd or for 3, diˈgreɪd /

verb (used with object), de·grad·ed, de·grad·ing.

verb (used without object), de·grad·ed, de·grad·ing.

to become degraded; weaken or worsen; deteriorate.
Chemistry. (especially of an organic hydrocarbon compound) to break down or decompose.

Origin of degrade

1275–1325; Middle English degraden < Late Latin dēgradāre, equivalent to Latin dē- de- + grad(us) grade + -āre infinitive suffix
Related formsde·grad·er, noun

Synonym study

1. See humble. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for degrading

British Dictionary definitions for degrading (1 of 2)


/ (dɪˈɡreɪdɪŋ) /


causing humiliation; debasing
Derived Formsdegradingly, adverbdegradingness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for degrading (2 of 2)


/ (dɪˈɡreɪd) /


(tr) to reduce in worth, character, etc; disgrace; dishonour
(diːˈɡreɪd) (tr) to reduce in rank, status, or degree; remove from office; demote
(tr) to reduce in strength, quality, intensity, etc
to reduce or be reduced by erosion or down-cutting, as a land surface or bed of a riverCompare aggrade
chem to decompose or be decomposed into atoms or smaller molecules
Derived Formsdegrader, noun

Word Origin for degrade

C14: from Late Latin dēgradāre, from Latin de- + gradus rank, degree
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 degrading



late 14c., from Old French degrader (12c.) "degrade, deprive (of office, rank, etc.)," from des- "down" (see dis-) + Latin gradus "step" (see grade (n.)). Related: Degraded; degrading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper