deteriorate

verb

de·​te·​ri·​o·​rate di-ˈtir-ē-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce deteriorate (audio)
dē-
deteriorated; deteriorating

transitive verb

1
: to make inferior in quality or value : impair
Exposure to sunlight may deteriorate the paint.
2

intransitive verb

: to become impaired in quality, functioning, or condition : degenerate
allowed a tradition of academic excellence to deteriorate
his health deteriorated
deteriorative adjective

Examples of deteriorate in a Sentence

efforts to save a deteriorating rain forest Exposure to rain and sun will gradually deteriorate the paint.
Recent Examples on the Web Money dried up and the buildings deteriorated from lack of maintenance. C. Isaiah Smalls Ii, Miami Herald, 12 May 2024 Franco-Russian relations have deteriorated in recent months as Paris has increased its support for Ukraine. Fox News, 6 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for deteriorate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deteriorate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Late Latin deterioratus, past participle of deteriorare, from Latin deterior worse, from de- + -ter (suffix as in Latin uter which of two) + -ior (comparative suffix) — more at whether entry 2, -er

First Known Use

1572, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deteriorate was in 1572

Dictionary Entries Near deteriorate

Cite this Entry

“Deteriorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deteriorate. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

deteriorate

verb
de·​te·​ri·​o·​rate di-ˈtir-ē-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce deteriorate (audio)
deteriorated; deteriorating
1
: to make or become worse or of less value : degenerate
2
deterioration
-ˌtir-ē-ə-ˈrā-shən
noun
deteriorative adjective

Medical Definition

deteriorate

intransitive verb
de·​te·​ri·​o·​rate di-ˈtir-ē-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce deteriorate (audio)
deteriorated; deteriorating
: to become impaired in quality, functioning, or condition : degenerate
her health deteriorated
deteriorating vision

More from Merriam-Webster on deteriorate

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