that degrades; debasing; humiliating: degrading submission.

Nearby words

  1. degradable,
  2. degradation,
  3. degradation of energy,
  4. degrade,
  5. degraded,
  6. degranulation,
  7. degrease,
  8. degree,
  9. degree day,
  10. degree of curve

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


[dih-greyd or for 3, dee-greyd]

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

to lower in dignity or estimation; bring into contempt: He felt they were degrading him by making him report to the supervisor.
to lower in character or quality; debase.
to reduce (someone) to a lower rank, degree, etc.; deprive of office, rank, status, or title, especially as a punishment: degraded from director to assistant director.
to reduce in amount, strength, intensity, etc.
Physical Geography. to wear down by erosion, as hills.Compare aggrade.
Chemistry. to break down (a compound, especially an organic hydrocarbon).

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



causing humiliation; debasing
Derived Formsdegradingly, adverbdegradingness, noun



(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