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See more synonyms for deteriorate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with or without object), de·te·ri·o·rat·ed, de·te·ri·o·rat·ing.
  1. to make or become worse or inferior in character, quality, value, etc.
  2. to disintegrate or wear away.
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Origin of deteriorate

1565–75; < Late Latin dēteriōrātus made worse (past participle of dēteriōrāre), equivalent to Latin dēterior worse ( from + -ter- formative in adjectives of spatial orientation (cf. exterior, interior) + -ior comparative suffix) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsde·te·ri·o·ra·tive, adjectiveun·de·te·ri·o·rat·ed, adjectiveun·de·te·ri·o·rat·ing, adjectiveun·de·te·ri·o·ra·tive, adjective

Synonyms for deteriorate

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for deteriorated

ramshackle, rickety

Examples from the Web for deteriorated

Contemporary Examples of deteriorated

Historical Examples of deteriorated

  • This change, if it deteriorated his mind, improved his exterior.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Deteriorated, that is to say, in the good qualities of horses, not of dogs?

  • And dogs are deteriorated in the good qualities of dogs, and not of horses?

  • And will not men who are injured be deteriorated in that which is the proper virtue of man?

  • Perhaps they had deteriorated, I said unwillingly to myself.

British Dictionary definitions for deteriorated


  1. to make or become worse or lower in quality, value, character, etc; depreciate
  2. (intr) to wear away or disintegrate
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Derived Formsdeterioration, noundeteriorative, adjective

Word Origin for deteriorate

C16: from Late Latin dēteriōrāre, from Latin dēterior 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 deteriorated



1640s (as a past participle adjective, 1570s), from Late Latin deterioratus, past participle of deteriorare "get worse, make worse," from Latin deterior "worse, lower, inferior, meaner," contrastive of *deter "bad, lower," from PIE *de-tero-, from demonstrative stem *de- (see de). Originally transitive in English; intransitive sense is from 1758. Related: Deteriorated; deteriorating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

deteriorated in Medicine


  1. To grow worse in function or condition.
  2. To weaken or disintegrate.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.