When something gets worse due to neglect or an unfortunate health problem, stuff starts to deteriorate — or fall apart.

The word deteriorate describes anytime something gets worse. Due to neglect, a relationship can deteriorate but so can the American highway system. Sadly, there seems to be no end to applications for the word deteriorate. And, the truth is at a certain age we all start deteriorating too.

Definitions of deteriorate

v become worse or disintegrate

“His mind deteriorated
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
go to pot, go to the dogs
become ruined
wear, wear down, wear off, wear out, wear thin
deteriorate through use or stress
wear away through erosion or vaporization
get or become scuffed
Type of:
crumble, decay, dilapidate
fall into decay or ruin

v grow worse

“Her condition deteriorated
degenerate, devolve, drop
convalesce, recover, recuperate
get over an illness or shock
restore to good health or strength
show more antonyms...
show 6 types...
hide 6 types...
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

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.