Definition of degrade in English:


Line breaks: de|grade
Pronunciation: /dɪˈgreɪd


[with object]
  • 2Break down or deteriorate chemically: the bacteria will degrade hydrocarbons
    More example sentences
    • This would mean that the decaying matter was buried (most likely under water) before it could be completely degraded to carbon dioxide and water.
    • Depilatories are put on skin to chemically degrade body hair.
    • Over time, however, it oxidizes and chemically degrades to form alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, acids and esters.
    break down, deteriorate, degenerate, decay, atrophy
  • 2.1 Physics Reduce (energy) to a less readily convertible form.
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    • Energy is always degraded to a less useful form.
    • Heat death will occur when all the energy of the cosmos has been degraded to random heat energy, with random motions of molecules and uniform low-level temperatures.
    • On an orbiting satellite, energetic particle exposure degrades the efficiency of the solar-cell panels used to provide operating power.
  • 2.2 Geology Wear down (rock) and cause it to disintegrate.
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    • While stabilized and vegetated, the dune fields are often degraded, since in some cases it has been many thousands of years since they were last active.
    • As such, some peatlands are relict landforms, no longer actively accumulating peat, while other peatlands may even be slowly degrading, some even back to their mineral wetland origins.
    • We have seen no evidence that this degraded fault-line scarp is Holocene active.
  • 3 archaic Reduce (someone) to a lower rank, especially as a punishment: he was degraded from his high estate
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    • It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority.
    • He was degraded from the grandeeship and exiled to the Philippines.
    • He was degraded from his dukedom in 1399, and was beheaded in January of the following year for conspiring against Henry IV.



Pronunciation: /-əˈbɪlɪti/
More example sentences
  • Additional research is warranted examining factors associated with ruminal degradability of barley grain as ruminal degradability is highly variable and has a large impact on animal performance.
  • Other studies have demonstrated that maturation frequently limits protein degradation rate and effective protein degradability in a variety of warm- and cool-season grasses.
  • In the 1970s, however, scientists revisited the idea of using cellulose by exploiting new technologies to enhance its properties whilst maintaining its degradability.


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  • ‘We have not yet withdrawn from using the degradable bags, but we are looking at a number of alternatives, including paper bags which are not as environmentally-friendly,’ she said.
  • With waste that was non-biodegradable and material that could be recycled collected separately, it was an easy task to convert degradable waste into value-added compost.
  • It was the first of the major UK supermarket chains to introduce 100% degradable carrier bags in all stores.


Pronunciation: /-dətɪv/
More example sentences
  • These enzymes participate in the degradative process of compounds taken up by lysosomes.
  • Other characteristics thought to be critical to pathogenesis are adhesiveness to host cells, secretion of degradative enzymes, and interactions with the immune system.
  • It is questionable whether aerosol administration of such liposome systems would prove protective against degradative processes in the lung parenchyma.


More example sentences
  • However, oxygen is a powerful degrader of organic compounds.
  • And for William Morris, it was industrial capitalism, the great degrader of mankind, which had stripped away man's dignity.
  • The presence of natural degraders does not, by itself, insure biodegradation will be successful.


late Middle English: from Old French degrader, from ecclesiastical Latin degradare, from de- 'down, away from' + Latin gradus 'step or grade'.

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Word of the day milord
Pronunciation: mɪˈlɔːd
used to address an English nobleman