[de.gen.er.ate] adj [ME degenerat, fr. L degeneratus, pp. of degenerare to degenerate, fr. de- + gener-, genus race, kind--more at kin] (15c) 1 a: having declined (as in nature, character, structure, or function) from an ancestral or former state b: having sunk to a condition below that which is normal to a type; esp: having sunk to a lower and usu. corrupt and vicious state c: degraded 2
2: being mathematically simpler (as by having a factor or constant equal to zero) than the typical case "a ~ hyperbola"
3: characterized by atoms stripped of their electrons and by very great density "~ matter"; also: consisting of degenerate matter "a ~ star"
4: having two or more states or subdivisions "~ energy level"
5: having more than one codon representing an amino acid; also: being such a codon syn see vicious -- de.gen.er.ate.ly adv -- de.gen.er.ate.ness n
de.gen.er.ate vi (1545) 1: to pass from a higher to a lower type or condition: deteriorate
2: to sink into a low intellectual or moral state
3: to decline in quality "the poetry gradually ~s into jingles"
4: to decline from a condition or from the standards of a species, race, or breed
5: to evolve or develop into a less autonomous or less functionally active form "degenerated into dependent parasites" ~ vt: to cause to degenerate de.gen.er.ate n (1555): one that is degenerate: as a: one degraded from the normal moral standard b: a sexual pervert c: one showing signs of reversion to an earlier culture stage