Other forms: degenerated; degenerates; degenerating; degenerately

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
  1. noun
    a person whose behavior deviates from what is acceptable especially in sexual behavior
    synonyms: 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
    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
  2. adjective
    unrestrained by convention or morality
    synonyms: debauched, degraded, dissipated, dissolute, fast, libertine, profligate, riotous
    deliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong
Definitions of degenerate
  1. verb
    grow worse
    “Conditions in the slums degenerated
    synonyms: deteriorate, devolve, drop
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    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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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘degenerate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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