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1. Having declined, as in function or nature, from a former or original state: a degenerate form of an ancient folk art.
2. Morally corrupt or given to vice.
3. Physics Relating to two or more quantum states that share the same quantum numbers: degenerate energy levels.
4. Physics Characterized by great density and consisting of atoms stripped of electrons: degenerate matter.
5. Medicine Characterized by degeneration, as of tissue, a cell, or an organ.
6. Biology Having lost one or more highly developed functions, characteristics, or structures through evolution: a degenerate life form.
7. Genetics Relating to or being a gene that has multiple codons for the same amino acid.
A depraved or corrupt person.
intr.v. (-ə-rāt′) de·gen·er·at·ed, de·gen·er·at·ing, de·gen·er·ates
1. To fall below a normal or desirable state, especially functionally or morally; deteriorate: old water pipes that are degenerating with age; a dispute that degenerated into a brawl.
2. To decline in quality: The quality of his writing degenerated as he continued to drink.
3. To undergo degeneration.

[Latin dēgenerātus, past participle of dēgenerāre, to depart from one's own kind, deteriorate : dē-, de- + genus, gener-, race; see genə- in Indo-European roots.]

de·gen′er·ate·ly adv.
de·gen′er·ate·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The perturbation of the bent structure is, respectively, introduced at two diagonal positions of an oblique 45 degrees of each annular slot, so that the resonant modes of the two frequency bands are degenerately separated to form circularly polarized radiation.
Whatever is a First determines only a First; whatever is a Second determines a Second or (degenerately) a First; whatever is a Third determines a Third, or (degenerately) a Second or a First (Peirce 1931b: 235).
Sakuntasathien, "Critically and degenerately damped systems of nonlinear wave equations with source terms," Applicable Analysis: An International Journal, vol.