noun de·gen·er·a·tion \di-ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən, ˌdē-\

Definition of degeneration

  1. 1 :  degenerate (see 1degenerate) condition

  2. 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. 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. 4 biology a :  progressive deterioration of physical characters from a level representing the norm of earlier generations or formsb :  deterioration of a tissue or an organ in which its function is diminished or its structure is impaired a degeneration of cartilage

Examples of degeneration in a sentence

  1. the organization's degeneration from a movement for political reform to just another political party

  2. the troubling degeneration of his memory since he reached middle age

Origin and Etymology of degeneration

see 1degenerate

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

Medical Dictionary


noun de·gen·er·a·tion \di-ˌjen-ə-ˈrā-shən, ˌdē-\

Medical Definition of degeneration

  1. 1:  intellectual or moral decline tending toward dissolution of character or integrity :  a progressive worsening of personal adjustment

  2. 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 degenerationb:  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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