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[dih-jen-er-uh-tiv, -uh-rey-tiv] /dɪˈdʒɛn ər ə tɪv, -əˌreɪ tɪv/
tending to degenerate.
characterized by degeneration.
Origin of degenerative
1840-50; degenerate + -ive
Related forms
nondegenerative, adjective
undegenerative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for degenerative
  • Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative illness of the brain.
  • But the list of ailments that are being worked on leans towards the chronic, expensive degenerative diseases of old age.
  • We also will turn genes on and off to treat cancer, as well as auto-immune and other degenerative diseases.
  • They do not seem to suffer from degenerative bone loss or muscle cramping despite months spent in small quarters.
  • Tears in the annular ring are a frequent finding in patients with degenerative disk disease.
  • Some research suggests that over time, high-impact exercise may increase the risk for degenerative disk disease.
  • It is also more likely in people suffering from diabetes and degenerative neurological disorders.
  • The diet appears to protect mice from degenerative disease, which may be why they live longer.
  • Therapy shows promise in a deadly degenerative brain disease.
  • Globs of malformed protein are conspicuously present in many degenerative disorders of the brain and nervous system.
British Dictionary definitions for degenerative


(of a disease or condition) getting steadily worse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for degenerative

1846; see degenerate + -ive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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degenerative in Medicine

degenerative de·gen·er·a·tive (dĭ-jěn'ər-ə-tĭv)
Of, relating to, causing, or characterized by degeneration.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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