Entries linking to degenerative
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.
word-forming element making adjectives from verbs, meaning "pertaining to, tending to; doing, serving to do," in some cases from Old French -if, but usually directly from Latin adjectival suffix -ivus (source also of Italian and Spanish -ivo). In some words borrowed from French at an early date it has been reduced to -y (as in hasty, tardy).
updated on July 12, 2018