de·​gen·​er·​a·​cy | \di-ˈjen-rə-sē, -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

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 Iran could use it as ultimate proof as to the degeneracy of the American way. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Never Goin' Back': Film Review | Sundance 2018," 29 Jan. 2018 This is how men like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby get away with decades of degeneracy. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "Do you say yes to rape culture like Lindsay Lohan and Ben Affleck? Maybe we all do," 11 Oct. 2017 The growth of violent factions involves more than a breakdown of public consensus; private moral degeneracy, technology, and other factors play a role, too. Fred Bauer, National Review, "Rebuilding the Public Square after Charlottesville," 18 Aug. 2017

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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24 Nov 2018

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The first known use of degeneracy was in 1664

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de·​gen·​er·​a·​cy | \di-ˈjen-(ə-)rə-sē \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for degeneracy Encyclopedia article about degeneracy

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living or existing for a long time

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