- To degrade is defined as to treat someone with disrespect, to lower someone's rank, to make something not as good, or to break down or deteriorate.
- When you talk down to someone and insult him, this is an example of a time when you degrade the person.
- When a substance begins to rot, this is an example of a time when it degrades.
- to lower in rank or status, as in punishing; demote
- to lower or corrupt in quality, moral character, or value; debase
- to bring into dishonor or contempt
- Chem. to convert (an organic compound) into a simpler compound by removal of one or more parts of the molecule; decompose
- Geol. to lower (a land surface) by erosion
Origin: Middle English degraden ; from Old French degrader ; from Late Latin degradare, to reduce inch(es) rank ; from Classical Latin de-, down plush gradus: see de- and amp; grade
- Rare to sink to a lower grade or type
- to be converted into a simpler compound or compounds; decompose
- degrader noun
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb de·grad·ed, de·grad·ing, de·grades verb, transitive
- To reduce in grade, rank, or status; demote.
- To lower in dignity; dishonor or disgrace: a scandal that degraded the participants.
- To lower in moral or intellectual character; debase.
- To reduce in worth or value: degrade a currency.
- To impair in physical structure or function.
- Geology To lower or wear by erosion or weathering.
- To cause (an organic compound) to undergo degradation.
- To fall below a normal state; deteriorate.
- To undergo degradation; decompose: a chemical that degrades rapidly.
Origin: Middle English degraden, from Old French degrader, from Late Latin dēgradāre : Latin dē-, de- + Latin gradus, step; see ghredh- in Indo-European roots.
- de·gradˈer noun