Synonyms & Antonyms of degenerate

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 having lost forcefulness, courage, or spirit
  • a degenerate society in which people had no sense of being citizens, only consumers

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  • undecadent
2 having or showing lowered moral character or standards
  • a movie about a gang of degenerate drug dealers

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Synonyms & Antonyms of degenerate (Entry 2 of 3)

a person who has sunk below the normal moral standard
  • a degenerate who is uninterested in anything but his own gratification

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Synonyms & Antonyms of degenerate (Entry 3 of 3)

to become worse or of less value
  • over the years the community-minded organization degenerated into a club for loafers

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Frequently Asked Questions About degenerate

How does the adjective degenerate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of degenerate are corrupt, iniquitous, nefarious, vicious, and villainous. While all these words mean "highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct," degenerate suggests having sunk to an especially vicious or enervated condition.

a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers

When would corrupt be a good substitute for degenerate?

While the synonyms corrupt and degenerate are close in meaning, corrupt stresses a loss of moral integrity or probity causing betrayal of principle or sworn obligations.

city hall was rife with corrupt politicians

When is iniquitous a more appropriate choice than degenerate?

The synonyms iniquitous and degenerate are sometimes interchangeable, but iniquitous implies absence of all signs of justice or fairness.

an iniquitous system of taxation

Where would nefarious be a reasonable alternative to degenerate?

The words nefarious and degenerate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, nefarious suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct.

the nefarious rackets of organized crime

In what contexts can vicious take the place of degenerate?

In some situations, the words vicious and degenerate are roughly equivalent. However, vicious may directly oppose virtuous in implying moral depravity, or may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence.

a vicious gangster

When could villainous be used to replace degenerate?

The meanings of villainous and degenerate largely overlap; however, villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic.

a villainous assault

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Time Traveler for degenerate

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The first known use of degenerate was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Degenerate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on degenerate

Nglish: Translation of degenerate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of degenerate for Arabic Speakers


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