If something degenerates, it gets worse, like a food fight that degenerates to an all-out spaghetti-throwing war. Degenerate can also describe an immoral person — or the behavior of such a person.

Whether used as a verb, noun, or adjective, degenerate carries a sense of making worse or declining to a lower state. People who are degenerate, or who exhibit degenerate behavior, are often set apart from others, in part out of fear that their influence will degenerate the morals of the impressionable people around them.

Definitions of degenerate

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

deviant, deviate, pervert
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one who engages in fetishism (especially of a sexual nature)
someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment
nympho, nymphomaniac
a woman with abnormal sexual desires
child molester, paederast, pederast
a man who has sex (usually sodomy) with a boy as the passive partner
paedophile, pedophile
an adult who is sexually attracted to children
someone who obtains pleasure from inflicting pain on others
someone who enjoys both sadism and masochism
lech, lecher, letch, satyr
man with strong sexual desires
a person who is whipped or whips himself for sexual gratification
Type of:
miscreant, reprobate
a person without moral scruples

adj unrestrained by convention or morality

debauched, degraded, dissipated, dissolute, fast, libertine, profligate, riotous
deliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong

v grow worse

“Conditions in the slums degenerated
deteriorate, devolve, drop
convalesce, recover, recuperate
get over an illness or shock
restore to good health or strength
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fatigue, jade, pall, tire, weary
lose interest or become bored with something or somebody
fade, languish
become feeble
rot, waste
become physically weaker
gangrene, mortify, necrose, sphacelate
undergo necrosis
conk out, peter out, poop out, run down, run out
use up all one's strength and energy and stop working
retire, withdraw
lose interest
Type of:
decline, worsen
grow worse

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