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[deg-ruh-dey-shuh n] /ˌdɛg rəˈdeɪ ʃən/
the act of degrading.
the state of being degraded.
Physical Geography. the wearing down of the land by the erosive action of water, wind, or ice.
Chemistry. the breakdown of an organic compound.
Origin of degradation
1525-35; < Late Latin dēgradātiōn- (stem of dēgradātiō), equivalent to dēgradāt(us) (past participle of dēgradāre to degrade) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
degradational, adjective
degradative, adjective
antidegradation, adjective
nondegradation, noun
self-degradation, noun
2. humiliation, disgrace, dishonor, debasement. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for degradation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their degradation made him ready to endure all things if only he could pierce the black cloud overshading them.

  • She had very honourable alliances, and yet she has thought it no degradation to be governess to Madame de Pompadour's daughter.

    The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe
  • It is only in this degradation of sordid misery that he is shown to us in the Alchemist of Jonson.

    Amenities of Literature Isaac Disraeli
  • He was right at the bottom now, in the last state of degradation.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • degradation and slavery were to be the portion of the learned Egyptians, but utter extinction is the doom of mighty Babylon.

British Dictionary definitions for degradation


the act of degrading or the state of being degraded
a state of degeneration, squalor, or poverty
some act, constraint, etc, that is degrading
the wearing down of the surface of rocks, cliffs, etc, by erosion, weathering, or some other process
(chem) a breakdown of a molecule into atoms or smaller molecules
(physics) an irreversible process in which the energy available to do work is decreased
(RC Church) the permanent unfrocking of a priest
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 degradation

1530s, from French dégradation (14c., Old French degradacion), from Medieval Latin degradationem (nominative degradatio), noun of action from past participle stem of degradare (see degrade).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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degradation in Medicine

degradation deg·ra·da·tion (děg'rə-dā'shən)
Progressive decomposition of a chemical compound into a less complex compound.

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