de·​te·​ri·​o·​ra·​tion | \ di-ˌtir-ē-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce deterioration (audio) , dē- \

Definition of deterioration

: the action or process of becoming impaired or inferior in quality, functioning, or condition : the state of having deteriorated rust deterioration the deterioration of academic standards

Choose the Right Synonym for deterioration

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 deterioration in a Sentence

the gradual deterioration of the weather a deterioration of academic standards
Recent Examples on the Web Such concern has been reinforced by the recent deterioration of rights in Hong Kong under a security crackdown driven by Beijing. Brian Spegele, WSJ, 3 Aug. 2022 The condition is marked by a slow deterioration of the eye that attacks night and peripheral vision first, usually beginning in adolescence, and overtime can lead to blindness. Kaitlin Durbin, cleveland, 3 Aug. 2022 In 1935, the site was nearly demolished when the deterioration of its black walnut and oak timbering reached an uninhabitable state., Journal Sentinel, 26 July 2022 The point wasn’t to sanitize the deterioration of the planet. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 20 July 2022 Any potential negotiations regarding this case will be complicated by the severe deterioration of U.S.-Russia ties following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, subsequent Western sanctions against it and American military aid to Ukraine. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 7 July 2022 People who take large amounts of anti-inflammatories are also likely to have deterioration of their kidney function over time. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 6 July 2022 Short is among those who blame the West for the deterioration of relations with Russia. Angela Stent, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 The war in Ukraine has also dented global investor sentiment and raised the potential for a new deterioration in U.S.-China relations. Quentin Webb, WSJ, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of deterioration

circa 1658, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deterioration

see deteriorate

Learn More About deterioration

Time Traveler for deterioration

Time Traveler

The first known use of deterioration was circa 1658

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near deterioration

deteriorated into



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for deterioration

Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deterioration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for deterioration


de·​te·​ri·​o·​ra·​tion | \ di-ˌtir-ē-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce deterioration (audio) \

Medical Definition of deterioration

: the action or process of deteriorating : the state of having deteriorated personality deterioration neurological deterioration


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!