What does degenerate mean?

Definitions for degenerate
dɪˈdʒɛn əˌreɪt; -ər ɪtde·gen·er·ate

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word degenerate.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. pervert, deviant, deviate, degenerateadjective

    a person whose behavior deviates from what is acceptable especially in sexual behavior

  2. debauched, degenerate, degraded, dissipated, dissolute, libertine, profligate, riotous, fastverb

    unrestrained by convention or morality

    "Congreve draws a debauched aristocratic society"; "deplorably dissipated and degraded"; "riotous living"; "fast women"

  3. devolve, deteriorate, drop, degenerateverb

    grow worse

    "Her condition deteriorated"; "Conditions in the slums degenerated"; "The discussion devolved into a shouting match"


  1. degeneratenoun

    a person who has declined from a high standard, especially a sexual deviate; -- usually used disparagingly or opprobriously of persons whose sexual behavior does not conform to the norms of accepted morals.

  2. degeneratenoun

    a person or thing that has fallen from a higher to a lower state, or reverted to an earlier type or stage of development or culture. RHUD


  1. degeneratenoun

    One is degenerate, who has fallen from previous stature.

    You are a degenerate, boy. You're a disgrace to your ancestors.

  2. degenerateverb

    (of humans or systems) to lose good or desirable qualities;

    His condition continued to degenerate even after admission to hospital.

  3. degenerateadjective

    (of qualities) having deteriorated, degraded or fallen from normal, coherent, balanced and desirable to an undesirable and typically abnormal

  4. degenerateadjective

    (of a human or system) having lost good or desirable qualities

  5. degenerateadjective

    (of an encoding or function) having multiple domain elements correspond to one element of the range

    The genetic code is degenerate because a single amino acid can be coded by one of several codons.

  6. degenerateadjective

    a degenerate case is a limiting case in which a class of object changes its nature so as to belong to another, usually simpler, class.

  7. degenerateadjective

    Having the same quantum energy level

  8. Etymology: From degeneratus, past participle of degenerare, from degener, from de + genus; see genus, general.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Degenerateadverb

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Thou art like enough
    To fight against me under Piercy’s pay;
    To dog his heels, and curt’sy at his frowns,
    To show how much thou art degenerate. William Shakespeare, Hen. IV.

    Yet thou hast greater cause to be
    Asham’d of them, than they of thee;
    Degenerate from their ancient brood,
    Since first the court allow’d them food. Jonathan Swift.

    So all shall turn degen’rate, all deprav’d;
    Justice and temperance, truth, and faith forgot!
    One man except. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xi. l. 806.

    When a man so far becomes degenerate as to quit the principles of human nature, and to be a noxious creature, there is commonly an injury done some person or other. John Locke.

  2. To DEGENERATEverb

    Etymology: degenerare, Lat. degenerer, Fr. degenerar, Spanish.

    When wit transgresseth decency, it degenerates into insolence and impiety. John Tillotson, Sermon 2.

    Most of those fruits that use to be grafted, if they be set of kernels or stones, degenerate. Francis Bacon, Natural History, №. 510.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Degenerateadjective

    having become worse than one's kind, or one's former state; having declined in worth; having lost in goodness; deteriorated; degraded; unworthy; base; low

  2. Degenerateverb

    to be or grow worse than one's kind, or than one was originally; hence, to be inferior; to grow poorer, meaner, or more vicious; to decline in good qualities; to deteriorate

  3. Degenerateverb

    to fall off from the normal quality or the healthy structure of its kind; to become of a lower type

  4. Etymology: [L. degeneratus, p. p. of degenerare to degenerate, cause to degenerate, fr. degener base, degenerate, that departs from its race or kind; de- + genus race, kind. See Kin relationship.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Degenerate

    de-jen′ėr-āt, adj. having departed from the high qualities of race or kind: become base—also Degen′erous (obs.).—v.i. to fall from a nobler state: to be or to grow worse.—v.i. Degen′der (Spens.), to degenerate.—ns. Degen′eracy, Degenerā′tion, the act or process of becoming degenerate: the state of being degenerate.—adv. Degen′erately.—n. Degen′erateness.—adj. Degen′erating.—n. Degenerā′tionist, one who believes that the tendency of man is not to improve, but to degenerate.—adj. Degen′erative, tending or causing to degenerate. [L. degenerāre, -ātum, to depart from its kind—de, from, down, genus, genĕris, kind.]

How to pronounce degenerate?

How to say degenerate in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of degenerate in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of degenerate in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of degenerate in a Sentence

  1. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche:

    Nothing is beautiful, only man on this piece of navety rests all aesthetics, it is the first truth of aesthetics. Let us immediately add its second nothing is ugly but degenerate man-the domain of aesthetic judgment is therewith defined.

  2. Elias Boudinot:

    Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.

  3. John Walsh:

    Mets fans are more degenerate.

  4. Hamadou Saley:

    We can protest peacefully to show our disapproval but things can only degenerate if authorities unjustly employ brutal force.

  5. Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu:

    It is not the young people that degenerate they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for degenerate

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • منحطArabic
  • дегенерирам, изроден, дегенерирал, израждам сеBulgarian
  • entartenGerman
  • degeneroitua, degeneroidaFinnish
  • dégénérerFrench
  • meathlaighIrish
  • rach bhuaitheScottish Gaelic
  • מנווןHebrew
  • elfajultHungarian
  • degenerarIdo
  • degenerareItalian
  • tipuheke, pūwhenua, tauheke, pouāwaiMāori
  • degenerat, degenerować sięPolish
  • degenera, degrada, degenerat, degradatRomanian
  • вырождаться, вырожденный, испорченный, дегенерировать, ухудшившийся, опустившийся, дегенерат, выродок, выродившийсяRussian

Get even more translations for degenerate »


Find a translation for the degenerate definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these degenerate definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "degenerate." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 2 Oct. 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/degenerate>.

    Are we missing a good definition for degenerate? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    quickly aroused to anger
    • A. bristly
    • B. irascible
    • C. flabby
    • D. bonzer

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for degenerate: