verb \di-ˈgrād, dē-\

: to treat (someone or something) poorly and without respect

: to make the quality of (something) worse

: to cause (something complex) to break down into simple substances or parts

Full Definition of DEGRADE

transitive verb
a :  to lower in grade, rank, or status :  demote
b :  to strip of rank or honors
c :  to lower to an inferior or less effective level <degrade the image quality>
d :  to scale down in desirability or salability
a :  to bring to low esteem or into disrepute <his actions have degraded his profession>
b :  to drag down in moral or intellectual character :  corrupt
:  to impair in respect to some physical property <material degraded by exposure to sunlight>
:  to wear down by erosion
:  to reduce the complexity of (a chemical compound) :  decompose
intransitive verb
:  to pass from a higher grade or class to a lower
of a chemical compound :  to become reduced in complexity
de·grad·er noun
de·grad·ing·ly \-ˈgrā-diŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of DEGRADE

  1. The group accuses the company of degrading women in its ads.
  2. He felt degraded by their remarks.
  3. Scratches on a camera lens will degrade the image.
  4. Pollution has degraded air quality.

Origin of DEGRADE

Middle English, from Anglo-French degrader, from Late Latin degradare, from Latin de- + gradus step, grade — more at grade
First Known Use: 14th century

Related to DEGRADE


transitive verb \di-ˈgrād\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of DEGRADE

: to reduce the complexity of (a chemical compound) by splitting off one or more groups or larger components : decompose <cellulose is degraded by the action of some bacteria>
intransitive verb
: to undergo chemical degradation


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