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

Example Sentences

efforts to save a deteriorating rain forest Exposure to rain and sun will gradually deteriorate the paint.
Recent Examples on the Web The stock has been a tough sell, said Jeffries, the Piper Sandler analyst, with investors worried that the company’s growth will slow as economic conditions deteriorate, e-commerce spending normalizes and consumers pull back on spending. Lauren Debter, Forbes, 10 Jan. 2023 Liquids can start to deteriorate after two months, so check the expiration date. Chicago Tribune, 9 Jan. 2023 Elsewhere in the episode, Robyn opened up about what caused most of Kody's marriages to deteriorate. Dory Jackson, Peoplemag, 8 Jan. 2023 Officials in Erie County, New York, issued a travel ban Friday morning as strong winds and the winter weather caused road conditions to deteriorate rapidly. Kathryn Prociv, NBC News, 24 Dec. 2022 Larger dogs are harder to adopt out and more prone to deteriorate in kennel situations, Anderson said. Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, 22 Dec. 2022 Six months later, though, his health started to deteriorate. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Dec. 2022 Kosovo postponed a local election due Dec. 18 in four municipalities with a predominantly ethnic Serb population, in an effort Saturday to defuse recent tensions there that have also caused relations with neighboring Serbia to deteriorate further. Arkansas Online, 11 Dec. 2022 As long as the war continues, the environment for public freedoms is likely to deteriorate, says Mr. Verkhovsky. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deteriorate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 2 Feb. 2023.

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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