Definition of degenerate in English:


Syllabification: de·gen·er·ate


Pronunciation: /diˈjenərit
  • 1Having lost the physical, mental, or moral qualities considered normal and desirable; showing evidence of decline: a degenerate form of a higher civilization
    More example sentences
    • Nor is it good to offer women to butter-bellied Falstaff, too ugly and degenerate to be desirable.
    • Their message about humanity is even more degenerate and degraded than that spouted by the previous administration.
    • No society's moral vision has ever, surely, been more degenerate than that.
    debased, degraded, corrupt, impure
    formal vitiated
  • 2 technical Lacking some property, order, or distinctness of structure previously or usually present, in particular.
    More example sentencesSynonyms
    corrupt, decadent, dissolute, dissipated, debauched, reprobate, profligate; sinful, ungodly, immoral, unprincipled, amoral, dishonorable, disreputable, unsavory, sordid, low, ignoble
  • 2.1 Mathematics Relating to or denoting an example of a particular type of equation, curve, or other entity that is equivalent to a simpler type, often occurring when a variable or parameter is set to zero.
    More example sentences
    • If the planes pass through the vertex of the cone, the conics are said to be degenerate, otherwise they are not.
    • Joining the four points in pairs by lines gives six lines; pairing the six lines in three pairs so that each pair passes through all four points yields the three degenerate conies.
    • This point is labelled A 3b, to emphasize that it is a degenerate quadrilateral.
  • 2.2 Physics Relating to or denoting an energy level that corresponds to more than one quantum state.
    More example sentences
    • A set of degenerate states constitutes an energy level.
    • For example, the p orbital has three possible angular momentum quantum states that are degenerate (of the same energy) under normal circumstances.
    • Energetic frustration arises from the presence of competing interactions, which are degenerate in energy.
  • 2.3 Physics Relating to or denoting matter at densities so high that gravitational contraction is counteracted either by the Pauli exclusion principle or by an analogous quantum effect between closely packed neutrons.
    More example sentences
    • The collapsed core will become a white dwarf, composed of degenerate matter supported by the inability of two electrons to occupy the same space.
    • The pressure due to the ions can then be treated as an ideal gas, but the pressure due to the degenerate electrons is much larger and hence the gas obeys a different equation of state.
    • The pressure maintained by a body of degenerate matter</m> is called the degeneracy pressure.
  • 2.4 Biology Having reverted to a simpler form as a result of losing a complex or adaptive structure present in the ancestral form.
    More example sentences
    • Y chromosomes are genetically degenerate in most organisms studied.
    • The coding sequences of most characterized plant retroelements are highly degenerate and are cluttered with stop codons, frameshifts, and deletions.
    • A partly degenerate consensus sequence was created from the Aspergillus and Penicillium sequences to evaluate the statistical significance of this alignment.


Pronunciation: /diˈjenərit
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Pronunciation: /diˈjenəˌrāt
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More example sentences
  • This exploration of the trash of the 20th century proposes a more underground and degenerately perverse origin and use of the medium.
  • He plasters himself all over the guilty pleasures in which he so degenerately indulges.
  • Specifically, electron scattering and transport models are developed for the degenerately doped conditions necessary for very-high-frequency diode operation.


late 15th century: from Latin degeneratus 'no longer of its kind', from the verb degenerare, from degener 'debased', from de- 'away from' + genus, gener- 'race, kind'.

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