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

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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

The recent deterioration in the bureau’s relationship with Congress is shocking. Thomas J. Baker, WSJ, "The FBI’s Shocking Disrespect for Congress," 10 May 2018 The growth backdrop should be the primary focus -- and a recent deterioration in macro indicators is unlikely to build on itself, while bonds are looking overbought. Joanna Ossinger,, "JPMorgan Sees Market Overcoming Stock Rout, But Beware Trade War," 25 Mar. 2018 The West must therefore find ways to continue to stay engaged to, at a minimum, forestall a further deterioration. Bill Richardson, Time, "Bill Richardson: How the West Can Help Fix the Rohingya Crisis," 15 Feb. 2018 Part was the physical exertion; most was the deterioration of my left frontal lobe. Jonathan Reynolds, Town & Country, "At Your Service," 11 July 2014 Democratic backsliding refers to the subtle, gradual deterioration of democratic institutions and practices, the erosion of elements like free and fair elections, freedom of speech and association, and the rule of law. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Trump has eroded important democratic institutions. Will Democratic wins change that?," 8 Nov. 2018 Haley warns Syria, Russia, Iran against using chemical weapons: Don’t bet against the U.S. Homan: Bill that would ban ICE courthouse arrests is a 'deterioration' of country's foundation. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump says anonymous NY Times op-ed backfired; Kavanaugh hearings could wrap up Friday," 7 Sep. 2018 The project promises to deliver a new roadway after decades of deterioration, years of complaints about gaps and cracks in the road, and a trail that has become rough, root-laden and uneven. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, "Another portion of Beach Drive reopens Monday," 8 July 2018 The internal documents show that care at the VA’s 133 nursing homes scored worse on average than private sector homes on key quality indicators, including rates of anti-psychotic drug prescription and residents’ deterioration. USA TODAY, "Lawmakers demand secret VA nursing home data be released after USA TODAY, Boston Globe report," 19 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of deterioration

circa 1658, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deterioration

see deteriorate

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Statistics for deterioration

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deterioration

The first known use of deterioration was circa 1658

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More Definitions for deterioration



English Language Learners Definition of deterioration

: the act or process of becoming worse


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

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Comments on deterioration

What made you want to look up deterioration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an enemy or opponent

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