Meaning of DEGENERATE in English


— degenerately , adv. — degenerateness , n.

v. /di jen"euh rayt'/ ; adj. , n. /di jen"euhr it/ , v. , degenerated, degenerating , adj. , n.


1. to fall below a normal or desirable level in physical, mental, or moral qualities; deteriorate: The morale of the soldiers degenerated, and they were unable to fight.

2. to diminish in quality, esp. from a former state of coherence, balance, integrity, etc.: The debate degenerated into an exchange of insults.

3. Pathol. to lose functional activity, as a tissue or organ.

4. Evolution. (of a species or any of its traits or structures) to revert to a simple, less highly organized, or less functionally active type, as a parasitic plant that has lost its taproot or the vestigial wings of a flightless bird.


5. to cause degeneration in; bring about a decline, deterioration, or reversion in.


6. having fallen below a normal or desirable level, esp. in physical or moral qualities; deteriorated; degraded: a degenerate king.

7. having lost, or become impaired with respect to, the qualities proper to the race or kind: a degenerate vine.

8. characterized by or associated with degeneracy: degenerate times.

9. Math. pertaining to a limiting case of a mathematical system that is more symmetrical or simpler in form than the general case.

10. Physics.

a. (of modes of vibration of a system) having the same frequency.

b. (of quantum states of a system) having equal energy.


11. a person who has declined, as in morals or character, from a type or standard considered normal.

12. a person or thing that reverts to an earlier stage of culture, development, or evolution.

13. a sexual deviate.

[ 1485-95; degeneratus (ptp. of degenerare to decline from an ancestral standard), equiv. to de DE- + gener-, s. of genus race (see GENUS) + -atus -ATE 1 ; see GENERATE ]

Syn. 1. worsen, decline, backslide, retrogress.

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .