adj 1 a : having declined (as in nature, character, structure, or function) from an ancestral or former state : esp : having deteriorated progressively (as in the process of evolution) esp. through loss of structure and function b : having sunk to a lower and usu. corrupt and vicious state 2 : having more than one codon representing an amino acid : also : being such a codon
, vi, -at*ed -at*ing 1 : to sink into a low intellectual or moral state 2 : to decline from a former thriving state or from standards proper to a species or race <all through the evolution of life many forms have degenerated, losing their relative autonomy and becoming dependent parasites upon other creatures -Curt Stern> 3 : to evolve or develop into a less functionally active form <the digestive system degenerated>
n : one that is degenerate: as a : one degraded from the normal moral standard b : a sexual pervert .
Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. © 1997-2004.