Meaning of DEGRADATION in English


ˌdegrəˈdāshən noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin degradation-, degradatio, from degradatus (past participle of degradare to degrade) + Latin -ion-, -io -ion — more at degrade


a. : a canonical punishment in the Roman Catholic Church by which a clergyman is perpetually deprived of all office, titles, benefices, and ecclesiastical rights and privileges

b. : a censure of a Church of England clergyman involving deprivation of office and usually the exercise of holy orders

c. : reduction to a lower rank, position, or level

stripped of his insignia of rank in an act of public degradation — United Press

d. : demotion or deposition from office

venality eventually brought about the official's degradation

e. obsolete : demotion by one or more steps on a college list of precedence imposed as a punishment

f. : lowering or descent in standing, worth, or serviceability

the degradation of reasonable sympathy into sentimentalism — W.R.Inge

indicative of the early twentieth century's mischievous degradation of the elevated and elevation of the degraded — H.F.Mooney

two great and not easily reversible evils follow: a conformity-minded speech community … and a degradation of the language — I.A.Richards


a. : decline to an inferior state of shamed or shameful distortion, neglect, repudiation, or dissolution : abandonment to defeat or corruption

even translation to the screen is not always, as such, a degradation — E.R.Bentley

the primal emotions of victory and defeat, exaltation and degradation — Allan Nevins

b. : a despised state of coarsening destitution, inhumane suppression, or demoralized dejection

two centuries of degradation hardly left the freedmen in a position to take up the responsibilities of citizenship — Oscar Handlin

shocked by the hopeless degradation of the “poor whites” — Edith Wharton

the last household where I could have found the reckless Ireland of a hundred years ago in final degradation — W.B.Yeats

3. : moral or intellectual decadence : reduction to ignominy or defilement

three attempts to escape and subsequent punishment educated him in the bestiality and degradation that war brings — Drew Middleton

the historical principle of cultural development and cultural progress from savagery to civilization as against any theory of cultural retrogression or degradation — David Bidney

the degradation of art and religion to menial and mountebank offices — Clive Bell


[French dégradation, from Italian digradazione, from Late Latin degradation-, degradatio ]

: the lessening in size or diminishing in light or color of objects in a drawing or painting to give perspective

5. : impairment in respect to some physical property:

a. : damage by weakening or loss of some property, quality, or capability

present synthetic rubber tires when used for this purpose are susceptible to a heat buildup that leads to excessive degradation — Roger Adams

b. : degeneration or arrest of development of any organ or of the body as a whole

c. : transformation into simpler substances or waste

d. : reduction to small lumps or particles

because the ore is loaded only once, degradation is minimized — Newsweek

e. : the weakening of a fabric that brings about a tendency to disintegrate

sodium hydroxide of 10 percent concentration at 85° C for 16 hours caused no apparent degradation of nylon — W.E.Shinn

f. : change of a soil to a type that is more highly leached or that has sodium replaced by hydrogen

6. : change of a chemical compound to a less complex compound

7. : a wearing down by erosion

modifications of the course of the river caused by gradual accretion on the one bank or degradation on the other bank — E.D.Dickinson

— compare aggradation

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.