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 These are always difficult discussions, a spokesperson said, and with the rapid deterioration of COVID-19 patients, relatives often had to make end-of-life decisions more quickly than with other illnesses. Annie Waldman, ProPublica, "Sent Home to Die," 2 Sep. 2020 The Great Depression hit some of the local businesses hard, and Deep Ellum’s deterioration became apparent. Jonny Auping, Longreads, "The Proving Grounds: Charley Crockett and the Story of Deep Ellum," 10 Aug. 2020 Diabetes, for one, can lead to circulation issues, nerve pain, and muscle and joint deterioration, often influenced by your blood sugar. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "Why Are My Feet Always in Pain? 12 Surprising Reasons Your Feet Ache," 20 July 2020 Riegl argued that age value, found in such phenomena as erosion, staining, or fragmentation, was made possible by a peculiarly modern appreciation for the organic nature of the artwork, its cycle of emergence and deterioration. Robyn Creswell, The New York Review of Books, "Making and Unmaking," 17 June 2020 Among the many clear signs of the deterioration of American community and family life, one in particular stands out: Nearly half of all children will spend some time outside of an intact family by their late teens. Mike Lee, National Review, "Strengthen America by Strengthening Families," 18 Aug. 2020 Instead, the city will refer to the designs when a street needs to rebuilt due to deterioration or other upgrades. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Salt Lake City street redesign guide draws praise, complaints," 15 Aug. 2020 Though the years anesthetized the family’s shock, and treatment slowed Clementina’s deterioration, her descent into amnesia was inevitable. Matthewembremner, Longreads, "In Absentia," 14 July 2020 With a population that is 63% Black, Memphis ranks as the third most distressed city in the U.S., with much of that deterioration flowing from the 2007 financial crisis. Amelia Rayno, Star Tribune, "A tour of civil rights landmarks reveals what's changed, and what hasn't," 14 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for deterioration

Time Traveler

The first known use of deterioration was circa 1658

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Statistics for deterioration

Last Updated

12 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deterioration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for deterioration


How to pronounce deterioration (audio)

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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