To deteriorate or lose former normal qualities, either morally or biologically.

Also, a person who is morally depraved or sexually perverted. Degenerates often make sweet love all night long to livestock and/or blood relatives, and they are known to worship dread gods and monstrous deities.

In quantum mechanics, two states are said to be degenerate if they possess the same energy level.

For example, in the particle in a box problem, assuming a three-dimensional potential well with equal lengths in all dimensions, the following states are degenerate:

In mathematics, a special case that occurs when a parameter is taken to one extreme or another is said to be degenerate. For example, a circle with a radius of zero is a single point. Thus, a point is a degenerate circle.

De*gen"er*ate (?), a. [L. degeneratus, p. p. of degenerare to degenerate, cause to degenerate, fr. degener base, degenerate, that departs from its race or kind; de- + genus race, kind. See Kin relationship.]

Having become worse than one's kind, or one's former state; having declined in worth; having lost in goodness; deteriorated; degraded; unworthy; base; low.

Faint-hearted and degenerate king. Shak.

A degenerate and degraded state. Milton.

Degenerate from their ancient blood. Swift.

These degenerate days. Pope.

I had planted thee a noble vine . . . : how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? Jer. ii. 21.


© Webster 1913.

De*gen"er*ate (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Degenerated; p. pr. & vb. n. Degenerating.]


To be or grow worse than one's kind, or than one was originally; hence, to be inferior; to grow poorer, meaner, or more vicious; to decline in good qualities; to deteriorate.

When wit transgresseth decency, it degenerates into insolence and impiety. Tillotson.

2. Biol.

To fall off from the normal quality or the healthy structure of its kind; to become of a lower type.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.