degeneration

noun
de·​gen·​er·​a·​tion | \ di-ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce degeneration (audio) , ˌdē- \

Definition of degeneration

1 : degenerate (see degenerate entry 1) condition
2 : a lowering of effective power, vitality, or essential quality to an enfeebled and worsened kind or state the country's degeneration into chaos … enacts the degeneration of politics into televisual entertainment …— Linda Holt
3 : intellectual, moral, or artistic decline Many of her stories show the degeneration of a principled person into a lethal one …— Susannah Clapp … argue that the tradition has radically devolved, and that books like "The Kiss," by Kathryn Harrison, represent the degeneration of a once ennobled form.— Deborah E. McDowell
4 biology
a : progressive deterioration of physical characters from a level representing the norm of earlier generations or forms
b : deterioration of a tissue or an organ in which its function is diminished or its structure is impaired a degeneration of cartilage

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Choose the Right Synonym for degeneration

deterioration, degeneration, decadence, decline mean the falling from a higher to a lower level in quality, character, or vitality. deterioration implies generally the impairment of value or usefulness. the deterioration of the house through neglect degeneration stresses physical, intellectual, or especially moral retrogression. the degeneration of their youthful idealism into cynicism decadence presupposes a reaching and passing the peak of development and implies a turn downward with a consequent loss in vitality or energy. cited love of luxury as a sign of cultural decadence decline differs from decadence in suggesting a more markedly downward direction and greater momentum as well as more obvious evidence of deterioration. the meteoric decline of his career after the scandal

Examples of degeneration in a Sentence

the organization's degeneration from a movement for political reform to just another political party the troubling degeneration of his memory since he reached middle age
Recent Examples on the Web Some research indicates that sea moss may protect brain tissue from degeneration and Parkinson's disease. Adele Jackson-gibson, Good Housekeeping, "Is Sea Moss Healthy? Here's How to Eat It for Maximum Benefits," 17 Jan. 2020 However, history shows that strong ideological views tend to become irrational if unchecked and can lead to degeneration. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "JNU violence has shaken up Quartz Pros from the business and academic world," 7 Jan. 2020 The neurodegenerative disease that leads to brain cell degeneration and a decline in cognitive functions is estimated to kill a third of US seniors, which is more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Kevin Hrusovsky, Quartz, "The most promising breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment is not a drug," 14 Nov. 2019 Dilantin and Tegretol can cause life threatening skin degeneration, or liver failure. Dr. Jordan Tishler, chicagotribune.com, "Side effects of marijuana versus conventional medications," 4 Oct. 2019 His collaborations with scientists around the world paved the way to understanding the process of connective tissue development and degeneration. courant.com, "Elton P. Katz," 21 Nov. 2019 The muscles affected initially vary from person to person, as does the rate of degeneration. New York Times, "The Party Girl, Till the End," 7 Nov. 2019 Forty mice were sent to the International Space Station Thursday as part of a joint effort between the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, UConn Health and Connecticut Children’s to better understand muscle atrophy and bone degeneration. Eliza Fawcett, courant.com, "‘Mighty mice’ launched into space to help UConn, Connecticut Children’s researchers study muscle atrophy and bone degeneration," 5 Dec. 2019 His family said the cause was complications of frontotemporal lobe degeneration. BostonGlobe.com, "But as part of a plan conceived by Freddie Gershon, a music executive, and joined by Mr. Swid and another partner, Ira Smith, a revamped SESAC would find ways to pay songwriters more.," 11 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'degeneration.' 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 degeneration

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for degeneration

see degenerate entry 1

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Time Traveler for degeneration

Time Traveler

The first known use of degeneration was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Degeneration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/degeneration. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for degeneration

degeneration

noun
de·​gen·​er·​a·​tion | \ di-ˌjen-ə-ˈrā-shən, ˌdē- How to pronounce degeneration (audio) \

Medical Definition of degeneration

1 : intellectual or moral decline tending toward dissolution of character or integrity : a progressive worsening of personal adjustment
2a : progressive deterioration of physical characters from a level representing the norm of earlier generations or forms : regression of the morphology of a group or kind of organism toward a simpler less highly organized state parasitism leads to degeneration
b : deterioration of a tissue or an organ in which its vitality is diminished or its structure impaired especially : deterioration in which specialized cells are replaced by less specialized cells (as in fibrosis or in malignancies) or in which cells are functionally impaired (as by deposition of abnormal matter in the tissue)

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