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[dih-teer-ee-uh-reyt] /dɪˈtɪər i əˌreɪt/
verb (used with or without object), deteriorated, deteriorating.
to make or become worse or inferior in character, quality, value, etc.
to disintegrate or wear away.
Origin of deteriorate
1565-75; < Late Latin dēteriōrātus made worse (past participle of dēteriōrāre), equivalent to Latin dēterior worse ( from + -ter- formative in adjectives of spatial orientation (cf. exterior, interior) + -ior comparative suffix) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
deteriorative, adjective
undeteriorated, adjective
undeteriorating, adjective
undeteriorative, adjective
1. degenerate, decline, worsen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for deteriorating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The neighborhood was deteriorating, or evolving, as you happened to look at it.

    Clark's Field Robert Herrick
  • She told herself that her three friends were deteriorating in their middle age.

  • The language has been moving since the first day of its formation; can it be said to be deteriorating?

  • But it must be said that at this time the factory was deteriorating.

    The Tapestry Book Helen Churchill Candee
  • His fire was almost out, deteriorating into a mere smudge curling up from dying embers.

    Daughter of the Sun Jackson Gregory
British Dictionary definitions for deteriorating


to make or become worse or lower in quality, value, character, etc; depreciate
(intransitive) to wear away or disintegrate
Derived Forms
deterioration, noun
deteriorative, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin dēteriōrāre, from Latin dēterior 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 deteriorating



1640s (as a past participle adjective, 1570s), from Late Latin deterioratus, past participle of deteriorare "get worse, make worse," from Latin deterior "worse, lower, inferior, meaner," contrastive of *deter "bad, lower," from PIE *de-tero-, from demonstrative stem *de- (see de). Originally transitive in English; intransitive sense is from 1758. Related: Deteriorated; deteriorating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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deteriorating in Medicine

deteriorate de·te·ri·o·rate (dĭ-tēr'ē-ə-rāt')
v. de·te·ri·o·rat·ed, de·te·ri·o·rat·ing, de·te·ri·o·rates

  1. To grow worse in function or condition.

  2. To weaken or disintegrate.

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