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adjective de·gen·er·ate \di-ˈjen-rət, -ˈje-nə-, dē-\

Simple Definition of degenerate

  • : having low moral standards : not honest, proper, or good

Full Definition of degenerate

  1. 1 a :  having declined or become less specialized (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; especially :  having sunk to a lower and usually corrupt and vicious state c :  degraded 2

  2. 2 :  being mathematically simpler (as by having a factor or constant equal to zero) than the typical case <a degenerate hyperbola>

  3. 3 :  characterized by atoms stripped of their electrons and by very great density <degenerate matter>; also :  consisting of degenerate matter <a degenerate star>

  4. 4 :  having two or more states or subdivisions <degenerate energy level>

  5. 5 :  having more than one codon representing an amino acid; also :  being such a codon

de·gen·er·ate·ly adverb
de·gen·er·ate·ness noun

Examples of degenerate

  1. He criticizes what he believes is a degenerate society.

  2. <a degenerate society in which people had no sense of being citizens, only consumers>

Origin of degenerate

Middle English degenerat, from Latin degeneratus, past participle of degenerare to degenerate, from de- + gener-, genus race, kind — more at kin

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of degenerate

vicious, villainous, iniquitous, nefarious, corrupt, degenerate mean highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct. vicious may directly oppose virtuous in implying moral depravity, or may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence <a vicious gangster>. villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic <a villainous assault>. iniquitous implies absence of all signs of justice or fairness <an iniquitous system of taxation>. nefarious suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct <the nefarious rackets of organized crime>. corrupt stresses a loss of moral integrity or probity causing betrayal of principle or sworn obligations <city hall was rife with corrupt politicians>. degenerate suggests having sunk to an especially vicious or enervated condition <a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers>.



verb de·gen·er·ate \di-ˈje-nə-ˌrāt, dē-\

Simple Definition of degenerate

  • : to change to a worse state or condition : to become worse, weaker, less useful, etc.

Full Definition of degenerate

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to pass from a higher to a lower type or condition :  deteriorate

  3. 2 :  to sink into a low intellectual or moral state

  4. 3 :  to decline in quality <the poetry gradually degenerates into jingles>

  5. 4 :  to decline from a condition or from the standards of a species, race, or breed

  6. 5 :  to evolve or develop into a less autonomous or less functionally active form <degenerated into dependent parasites>

  7. transitive verb
  8. :  to cause to degenerate

Examples of degenerate

  1. <over the years the community-minded organization degenerated into a club for loafers>


First Known Use of degenerate


Rhymes with degenerate

abbreviate, abominate, accelerate, accentuate, accommodate, acculturate, accumulate, adjudicate, adulterate, affiliate, agglomerate, alienate, alleviate, alliterate, amalgamate, ameliorate, amyl nitrate, annihilate, annunciate, anticipate, apostolate, appreciate, appropriate, approximate, arpeggiate, articulate, asphyxiate, assassinate, asseverate, assimilate, associate, at any rate, attenuate, authenticate, barbiturate, bicarbonate, calumniate, capacitate, capitulate, catholicate, certificate, coagulate, coelenterate, collaborate, commemorate, commiserate, communicate, compassionate, concatenate, conciliate, confabulate, confederate, conglomerate, congratulate, consolidate, contaminate, cooperate, coordinate, corroborate, deactivate, debilitate, decapitate, decelerate, decerebrate, deconcentrate, deconsecrate, decorticate, decrepitate, de-escalate, defibrinate, defoliate, deliberate, delineate, demodulate, denominate, depopulate, depreciate, deracinate, deregulate, desegregate, desiderate, detoxicate, devaluate, diaconate, dilapidate, discriminate, disintegrate, disseminate, dissimulate, dissociate, domesticate, effectuate, ejaculate, elaborate, electroplate, eliminate, elucidate, emaciate, emancipate, emasculate, encapsulate, enumerate, enunciate, episcopate, equivocate, eradicate, etiolate, evacuate, evaluate, evaporate, eventuate, eviscerate, exacerbate, exaggerate, exasperate, excited state, excogitate, excoriate, exfoliate, exhilarate, exonerate, expatiate, expatriate, expectorate, expostulate, expropriate, extenuate, exterminate, extrapolate, facilitate, felicitate, fish or cut bait, garrison state, gesticulate, habilitate, habituate, hallucinate, humiliate, hydrogenate, hypothecate, illuminate, impersonate, inactivate, inaugurate, incarcerate, incinerate, incorporate, incriminate, indoctrinate, inebriate, infatuate, infuriate, ingratiate, ingurgitate, initiate, inoculate, inseminate, insinuate, instantiate, intercalate, interpolate, interrelate, interrogate, intimidate, intoxicate, invalidate, investigate, invigorate, irradiate, Italianate, Korea Strait, lanceolate, legitimate, luxuriate, mandarinate, manipulate, matriarchate, matriculate, Merthiolate, necessitate, negotiate, noncandidate, obliterate, officiate, Orange Free State, orientate, originate, oxygenate, participate, particulate, patriarchate, patriciate, perambulate, peregrinate, perpetuate, pontificate, precipitate, predestinate, predominate, prefabricate, premeditate, preponderate, prevaricate, procrastinate, prognosticate, proliferate, propitiate, proportionate, quadruplicate, quintuplicate, reciprocate, recriminate, recuperate, redecorate, reduplicate, reeducate, refrigerate, regenerate, regurgitate, reincarnate, reintegrate, reiterate, rejuvenate, remunerate, repatriate, repudiate, resuscitate, retaliate, reticulate, revaluate, reverberate, scholasticate, second estate, self-flagellate, self-immolate, self-pollinate, seventy-eight, sextuplicate, Singapore Strait, sophisticate, subordinate, substantiate, syllabicate, tergiversate, transliterate, triangulate, vanity plate, variegate, vaticinate, vituperate, vociferate



noun de·gen·er·ate \di-ˈjen-rət, -ˈje-nə-, dē-\

Simple Definition of degenerate

  • : a person whose behavior is not morally right or socially acceptable

Full Definition of degenerate

  1. :  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

Examples of degenerate

  1. a couple of degenerates on a crime spree

  2. <a degenerate who is uninterested in anything but his own gratification>


First Known Use of degenerate


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February 14, 2016

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