• WordNet 3.6
    • v degrade lower the grade of something; reduce its worth
    • v degrade reduce the level of land, as by erosion
    • v degrade reduce in worth or character, usually verbally "She tends to put down younger women colleagues","His critics took him down after the lecture"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Canada declared national beauty contests canceled as of 1992, claiming they were degrading to women.
    • v. i Degrade (Biol) To degenerate; to pass from a higher to a lower type of structure; as, a family of plants or animals degrades through this or that genus or group of genera.
    • Degrade To reduce from a higher to a lower rank or degree; to lower in rank; to deprive of office or dignity; to strip of honors; as, to degrade a nobleman, or a general officer. "Prynne was sentenced by the Star Chamber Court to be degraded from the bar."
    • Degrade (Geol) To reduce in altitude or magnitude, as hills and mountains; to wear down.
    • Degrade To reduce in estimation, character, or reputation; to lessen the value of; to lower the physical, moral, or intellectual character of; to debase; to bring shame or contempt upon; to disgrace; as, vice degrades a man. "O miserable mankind, to what fall Degraded , to what wretched state reserved!""Yet time ennobles or degrades each line.""Her pride . . . struggled hard against this degrading passion."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • degrade To reduce from a higher to a lower rank, degree, or type. Specifically
    • degrade To deprive of any office or dignity; strip of honors: as, to degrade a general officer.
    • degrade To lower in character; cause to deteriorate; lessen the value or worth of; debase: as, drunkenness degrades a man to the level of a beast.
    • degrade In biology: To reduce in taxonomic rank; lower in the scale of classification: as, to degrade an order to the rank of a family.
    • degrade To reduce in complexity of structure or function; simplify morphologically or physiologically: as, an organism degraded by parasitic habit.
    • degrade In geology, to reduce in altitude or magnitude, as hills and mountains or icebergs; wear down, as by the weather.
    • degrade In optics, to lower in position in the spectrum; increase the wave-length of (a ray of light), and hence diminish (its) refrangibility, as by the action of a fluorescent substance. See fluorescence.
    • degrade To diminish the strength, purity, size, etc., of.
    • degrade Synonyms and Debase, Disgrace, etc. (see abase); to dishonor, break, cashier, reduce to inferior rank. To lower, sink, impair, injure, pervert, pollute. See list under debase.
    • degrade In natural history, to degenerate in type; pass from a higher type of structure to a lower.
    • degrade To degenerate; become lower in character; deteriorate.
    • degrade In a university, to take, for some particular reason, a lower degree than one is entitled to, or to avoid taking a degree at the proper or usual time; descend from a higher to a lower degree.
    • degrade In thermodynamics, to convert from a form of greater to one of less availability: said of certain transformations of energy.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Degrade de-grād′ to lower in grade or rank: to deprive of office or dignity: to lower in character, value, or position: to disgrace
    • ***


  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “As soon as beauty is sought not from religion and love, but for pleasure, it degrades the seeker.”
  • Alice James
    Alice James
    “I suppose one has a greater sense of intellectual degradation after an interview with a doctor than from any human experience.”
  • William Blake
    “The foundation of empire is art and science. Remove them or degrade them, and the empire is no more. Empire follows art and not vice versa as Englishmen suppose.”
  • Booker T. Washington
    “I will not permit any man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”
  • Christopher Hampton
    Christopher Hampton
    “I think there's something degrading about having a husband for a rival. It's humiliating if you fail and commonplace if you succeed.”
  • Simone Weil
    “A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. dégrader, LL. degradare, fr. L. de-, + gradus, step, degree. See Grade, and cf. Degree
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. dégrader—L. de, down, and gradus, a step. See Grade.


In literature:

In addition to being degrading to the individual it is injurious to others.
"Practical Ethics" by William DeWitt Hyde
We now come to the more degraded forms of flies which live parasitically on various animals.
"Our Common Insects" by Alpheus Spring Packard
Our religion has elevated her sex from Pagan degradation, and expects a commensurate return, in her superior virtue.
"The Young Maiden" by A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
From this point of view, I degrade Physics into an implement of culture, and this is my deliberate design.
"Fragments of science, V. 1-2" by John Tyndall
"The Right of American Slavery" by True Worthy Hoit
And she was not at first a degraded being.
"The Manxman A Novel - 1895" by Hall Caine
You shall not degrade yourself like this!
"Witness to the Deed" by George Manville Fenn
The degradation of the people was awful.
"The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 03" by Various
Briefly, the degradation of the class he loved.
"The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3)" by Leslie Stephen
He satirizes human life, but he does not satirize it to degrade it.
"The Life of Charles Dickens, Vol. I-III, Complete" by John Forster

In poetry:

What though the bright angelic forms
Degraded were to crawling worms?
These creatures were but creatures still,
Transform'd at their Creator's will.
"The Believer's Principles : Chap. I." by Ralph Erskine
Back to your dens, ye secret traitors!
Down to your own degraded spheres!
Ere the first blaze of dazzling sunshine
Shortens your lives a thousand years.
"Song of a Thousand Years" by Henry Clay Work
ALTHO' to man's aspiring pride,
It may appear degrading;
Yet look on all the world around,
And say what pleasure may be found,
What joy that is not fading.
"On The Fading Enjoyments Of Time" by Elizabeth Bath
In one great now, superior to an age,
The full extremes of nature's force we find:
How heavenly virtue can exalt, or rage
Infernal how degrade the human mind.
"To Mr. Harley - Wounded" by Matthew Prior
Yet think not that his transient joys,
To man are so degrading;
They only serve our faith to prove,
Since heaven reserves in realms above,
Pure joys that are not fading.
"On The Fading Enjoyments Of Time" by Elizabeth Bath
I saw his face!...Oh, what a man
His manhood should degrade,
And seek to rob (I checked a so
Except in honest trade!
A predatory face I saw
That showed no reverence for Law.
"Culture and Cops" by C J Dennis

In news:

In those environmental conditions—the sewer system or a septic tank—the toxin would soon degrade and no longer pose a threat to the public.
See how companies are now using this technology to predict and prevent equipment degradation and failure.
The recent degradation called for human intervention, and the team opted for dredging , an approach not typically associated with marshes.
His 1968 book The Population Bomb, raised awareness on the connections between exponential human population growth and environmental degradation.
The Boc3Arg moiety may provide a general strategy to construct inhibitors that induce targeted protein degradation.
The depth of the sickness and degradation that Steven Powell reached in regards to his daughter-in-law, Susan, was revealed on Thursday with the announcement that thousands of photos of her were seized from his home.
Free flowing and sparked by audience suggestions), where performers split into teams, winners are chosen, and losers are degraded.
I have heard that suspending the hormone in an oil will aid in preventing the testosterone from degradation in the stomach.
As the time it takes to fill potholes climbs, so does the continuing degradation to Pittsburgh's 1,000 miles of streets.
The Obama administration's plan to share weather satellite frequencies with commercial cellular carriers could severely degrade scientists' ability to forecast hurricanes and monitor flooding, weather and spectrum, according to experts.
Hofstadler added that the ability of PLEX-ID to rapidly analyze mtDNA from highly degraded samples allows forensic scientists to quickly and confidently perform mtDNA tests on samples that otherwise would not yield information.
There are countless words you can use to degrade a woman: bitch, slut, whore.
The UK Kennel Club is banning dog dancing, which it says is degrading to dogs, especially when cats are watching.
Like other exotic destinations widely believed to be threatened by degradation from climate change, the mountain's precariousness has become a marketing opportunity.
Propelled by 60 years of rampant political corruption, environmental degradation, and crony capitalism.

In science:

However, those designs based on masks with odd symmetry (Rouan et al. 2000; Riaud et al. 2001) or interferometrically synthesized masks with odd symmetry (Baudoz et al. 2000a,b) create nulls that degrade as θ2 , where θ is the angle from the optical axis.
Using Notch-Filter Masks for High Contrast Imaging of Extrasolar Planets
This rapid degradation means that the finite size of a real star causes the coronagraph to leak light at levels unsuitable for terrestrial planet detection.
Using Notch-Filter Masks for High Contrast Imaging of Extrasolar Planets
It is important to note that this scale reflects the degradation of spatial resolution due to a Lyot Stop that is undersized.
Using Notch-Filter Masks for High Contrast Imaging of Extrasolar Planets
In this section we will quantify the effect of some errors that degraded the contrast, and speculate on the potential uses of this mask for space-based planet searches.
Using Notch-Filter Masks for High Contrast Imaging of Extrasolar Planets
MT, the finite size of the point source, mask alignment errors, and mask fabrication errors all combine to explain the degraded performance of the notch filter mask.
Using Notch-Filter Masks for High Contrast Imaging of Extrasolar Planets