- 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 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.
- 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 of degradeMiddle English degraden ; from Old French degrader ; from Late Latin degradare, to reduce in rank ; from Classical Latin de-, down + 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
verbde·grad·ed, de·grad·ing, de·grades
- To lower in quality or value; make inferior or less valuable: land that was degraded by overgrazing; a virus that degrades the computer's performance.
- To lower in dignity; dishonor or disgrace: seemed to feel that he was degrading himself in accepting the invitation. See Synonyms at debase.
- To reduce in grade, rank, or status; demote.
- Geology To lower or wear away by erosion or weathering.
- To cause (an organic compound) to undergo degradation.
- To fall to a lower rank or status.
- To undergo degradation; decompose: a chemical that degrades rapidly.
Origin of degradeMiddle English degraden, from Old French degrader, from Late Latin dēgradāre : Latin dē-, de- + Latin gradus, step; see ghredh- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present degrades, present participle degrading, simple past and past participle degraded)
- To lower in value or social position.
- Fred degrades himself by his behaviour.
- (intransitive) To reduce in quality or purity.
- The DNA sample has degraded.
- (geology) To reduce in altitude or magnitude, as hills and mountains; to wear down.
From Middle French dégrader