- 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.
transitive verb-·grad′ed, -·grad′ing
- 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 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