To decline or deteriorate in quality or value; to become less than what is considered normal or acceptable


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Deteriorate, decline, worsen, decay, disintegrate, crumble


Improve, advance, develop, flourish, thrive

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun degenerates, degenerations, degeneration, degenerate
Verb degenerating, degenerates, degenerate, degenerated
Adjective degenerative, degenerate
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The once-beautiful building had degenerated into a rundown and abandoned eyesore.

  • The politician’s speech degenerated into a series of insults and personal attacks.

  • Over time, the quality of the company’s products had degenerated, leading to a decline in sales.

  • The peaceful protest quickly degenerated into a violent confrontation with police.


The verb “degenerate” refers to something that has declined or deteriorated in quality or value. It can be used to describe a wide range of things, from physical objects like buildings or roads that have fallen into disrepair, to social situations like political discourse or public protests that have turned violent. The word is derived from the Latin “degenerare”, which means to depart from one’s kind or class.

In some contexts, “degenerate” can also be used as an adjective to describe something that is considered abnormal or substandard. For example, a “degenerate art” exhibit might be one that features works that are considered vulgar or obscene by mainstream society. However, this usage is less common than the verb form.

Overall, “degenerate” is a strong word that connotes a significant decline in quality or value. It is often used to describe situations or objects that have fallen into a state of disrepair, or people whose behavior has become unacceptable or abnormal.