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

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 Bird joins other impressive authors who have returned to Carter, despite his low popularity, because his life offers an antidote to the ethical degeneracy of our current moment. Washington Post, 18 June 2021 It wasn’t sacked by Lego-man Visigoths or brought down by the parasitic forces of degeneracy. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, 10 June 2021 The only way to break this degeneracy would be to take accurate, independent measurements that would nail down the distance to this galaxy, irrespective of any assumptions made. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 22 June 2021 His presidency reminds us that the antidote to Trumpian degeneracy is not the devout straight man but the figure of integrity who can also inspire diverse people. Washington Post, 18 June 2021 Moral watchdogs cried foul and claimed these movies not only desensitized kids to degeneracy — think of the children! David Fear, Rolling Stone, 11 June 2021 The name conjured high-minded ideals of representative democracy, but this was a true fascist state, complete with shock troops, slavery, and degeneracy laws. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, 10 June 2021 Every word out of her mouth is an indictment not merely of Trump but of her fellow lawmakers' degeneracy and opportunism. Arkansas Online, 9 May 2021 The first mood defends liberal democracy as a precious inheritance that requires tending; the second excoriates it for its spiritual shallowness, cultural degeneracy and tendency toward an individualist myopia or socialist utopia. New York Times, 24 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of degeneracy

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About degeneracy

Time Traveler for degeneracy

Time Traveler

The first known use of degeneracy was in 1664

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near degeneracy




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for degeneracy

Last Updated

6 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Degeneracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

More from Merriam-Webster on degeneracy Encyclopedia article about degeneracy


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!