Advertisement

degenerate (adj.)

late 15c., "having lost or suffered impairment to the qualities proper to the race or kind," from Latin degeneratus, past participle of degenerare "to be inferior to one's ancestors, to become unlike one's race or kind, fall from ancestral quality," used of physical as well as moral qualities, from phrase de genere, from de "off, away from" (see de-) + genus (genitive generis) "birth, descent" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget").

Of things, "unworthy, debased, having fallen in quality or passed to an inferior state," from 1550s. The noun, "one who has degenerated," is from 1550s. Related: Degenerately; degenerateness.

Origin and meaning of degenerate

degenerate (v.)

1540s, "to lose or suffer impairment to the qualities proper to the race or kind," also figurative, "decay in quality, pass to an inferior state," from Latin degeneratus, past participle of degenerare "to be inferior to one's ancestors, to become unlike one's race or kind, fall from ancestral quality," used of physical as well as moral qualities, from phrase de genere, from de "off, away from" (see de-) + genus (genitive generis) "birth, descent" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget"). Figurative sense of "to fall off, decline" was in Latin. Related: Degenerated; degenerating.

Origin and meaning of degenerate

Others Are Reading