de·​gen·​er·​a·​cy | \ di-ˈjen-rə-sē How to pronounce degeneracy (audio) , -ˈje-nə-, dē- \
plural degeneracies

Definition of degeneracy

1 : the state of being degenerate
2 : the process of becoming degenerate
3 : sexual perversion
4 : the coding of an amino acid by more than one codon

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Examples of degeneracy in a Sentence

the sad degeneracy of the old neighborhood into a slum the degeneracy of the family into a gang of petty thieves
Recent Examples on the Web In many of these cases, an artist’s very participation in hip-hop is painted as a moral shortcoming that suggests a propensity for real-world violence and degeneracy. Briana Younger, The New Yorker, "The Controversial Use of Rap Lyrics as Evidence," 20 Sep. 2019 And a greater emphasis on variation and degeneracy, at all levels of analysis, as well as neural reuse, must be considered. Dean Mobbs, Scientific American, "On the Nature of Fear," 20 Sep. 2019 The hospitality industry, unfairly or not, bears a reputation for work-hard-play-hard debauchery, degeneracy, vice and fiscal irresponsibility by both its patrons and employees. Sameer Rao,, "How the owner of a Baltimore sushi restaurant became a World Series of Poker contender," 28 June 2019 Ballet dancers became synonymous with corruption and degeneracy. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘Little Dancer Aged Fourteen’ Review: Rat-Girl of the Paris Opera," 16 Nov. 2018 However, now that the Supreme Court has given a thumbs-up to sports degeneracy, knock yourself out, America. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Another 21 Rules for Fourth of July Wiffle Ball," 2 July 2018 The means relied on in this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Donald Trump is literally tearing up the trappings of the US presidency," 11 June 2018 That decision isn’t a sign of cultural degeneracy, societal deficiency, or individual failure. Alex Press, Vox, "The record-low birthrate offers yet another sign that millennials are economically screwed," 31 May 2018 Michael Brendan Dougherty is a Catholic traditionalist with paleo-conservative leanings, but appalled by the personal degeneracy of President Donald Trump. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Centrist Grievance Against “Victim Politics”," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'degeneracy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of degeneracy

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for degeneracy

Time Traveler

The first known use of degeneracy was in 1664

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Statistics for degeneracy

Last Updated

11 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Degeneracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for degeneracy


de·​gen·​er·​a·​cy | \ di-ˈjen-(ə-)rə-sē How to pronounce degeneracy (audio) \
plural degeneracies

Medical Definition of degeneracy

1 : the state of being degenerate
2 : the process of becoming degenerate
3 : sexual perversion
4 : the coding of an amino acid by more than one codon of the genetic code

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