de·​te·​ri·​o·​ra·​tion | \ di-ˌtir-ē-ə-ˈrā-shən, 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 judge noted the mental deterioration of both boys during their detainment, citing a psychologist’s report that said both boys suffered from severe anxiety and depression and had begun harming themselves and others. William Lee,, "Judge orders Brazilian boys reunited with fathers, calls government decision to separate them ‘arbitrary and conscience shocking’," 10 July 2018 Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit told reporters on Saturday that all parties involved in the crisis, primarily the Syrian government, are responsible for the deterioration of the situation. CBS News, "Haley warns U.S. "locked and loaded" if Syrian regime uses poisonous gas again," 14 Apr. 2018 The main focus of his experiments was on how to limit the deterioration of muscles with age, but the results also appealed to athletes in search of a performance boost. Nick Busca, CNN, "The new frontier of doping will modify athletes' DNA," 13 Apr. 2018 Britain has the ninth-highest rate of infant mortality out of 33 OECD countries, a deterioration of about ten places since 1990. The Economist, "The NHS looks due to get more money. Where should it go?," 28 Mar. 2018 As India, Pakistan ties simmer, diplomats allege harassment Dispute reflects continuing deterioration of relations Ringing the doorbell in the middle of the night and running away. Iain Marlow,, "Ring the Doorbell and Run: How Nuclear Rivals Harass Each Other," 15 Mar. 2018 Drew announced in March that the arcade would close because of rapid deterioration over the winter. Shawn R. Beals, Courant Community, "Downtown Middletown Traffic Changes Coming With Parking Additions," 26 Apr. 2018 Once clear, assess your deck or patio and repair any damage or deterioration. Wire Services, The Seattle Times, "10 items to check off your fall home to-do list," 15 Oct. 2018 Placing responsibility for the rapid deterioration in United States-Russian relations squarely on the shoulders of the Russian president has its appeal. Daniel Beer, New York Times, "Does Vladimir Putin Speak for the Russian People?," 6 July 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

18 Jan 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 \

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).


a complex dispute or argument

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